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Aardvark - Aardvark CD (album) cover

AARDVARK

Aardvark

 

Crossover Prog

3.38 | 87 ratings

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ALotOfBottle
4 stars Aardvark was a short-lived proto-progressive group which managed to release only one self-titled album before breaking up. A name with two "a" letters in the beggining, which would always put them first on alphabetically-sorted lists turned out to be not enough to help them make a mark. What brought attention of many to this band is that two future members of Free, Paul Kossoff and Simon Kirke played with the band. However, the album was recorded after their departure. The line-up consists of drums, bass and two keyboards. Naturally, the band's sound is rich in organ sounds as well as some piano touches.

The quartet's music is typical of the period. Rooted in psychedelia, Aardvark explores new musical possibilities. The band makes proficient use of newly "invented" distorted organ sound as well as applying distortion on some vocal parts. Even some ambient/electronic parts are to be heard! All of these features, give this creation a fresh and exciting sound. Similarities to Van Der Graaf Generator, Emeson Lake & Palmer or Egg are detectable.

Aardvark is really a game of two song conventions. Some of the songs like "Many Things To Do", the main theme of "Outing" or "Copper Sunset" could be best described as a progressive rock extension of psychedelic pop tunes, while some present a truly progressive, jazz-influenced side of the band, strongly based on improvisation. After a rather dull and uninteresting theme, the previously mentioned "Outing" features a very interesting proto-ambient, dark and dissonant organ-driven part with a lot of delay and reverb on the instruments and a silent bass line in the background. It's connected with "Once Upon A Hill", which is connected with "Put That In Your Pipe And Smoke It" creating an impression mini-epic. To me, that is the most interesting part of the album, showcasing the band's abilities in the best light.

All in all, I was sort of skeptical when I put on Aardvark's self-titled debut. I thought I had already heard all "good" one-and-gone acts. As it soon turned out, I was mistaken. Although flawed in places and not very consistent, this album is a really memorable listening experience with a very distinct and unique sound. This is a really interesting work and is recommended to proto-prog and early prog fans. Four stars!

ALotOfBottle | 4/5 |

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