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Rare Bird - Rare Bird [Aka: Sympathy] CD (album) cover

RARE BIRD [AKA: SYMPATHY]

Rare Bird

 

Crossover Prog

3.76 | 104 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars RARE BIRD were the first band to have an album released on Charisma Records, a label that would be known for the likes of GENESIS, VDGG, HAWKWIND and many others. A dual keyboard band with Hammond organ and electric piano and no guitar. Bass and drums too of course along with an excellent vocalist. For me the organ, drums and vocals all standout the most, and the organ is played by Graham Fields. Released in 1969 and yes it sounds like it but man I just love their sound. The first two albums are fairly equal in my opinion and well worth picking up. You'll notice that this self-titled release has "Aka; Sympathy" in brackets as that song became a hit for them in the UK and Europe.

Not sure about the track listing shown here at PA, it's not the one I have anyway. So we get started with "Iceberg" the longest tune on here at almost 7 minutes. A mellow start with organ and more as it starts to build until kicking in hard at one minute with piano and drums bringing some classic RPI bands to mind. The organ joins in pulsing away as the piano steps aside. Reserved vocals only 2 minutes in as bass joins in followed by drums and organ. Nice. I like how urgent sounding this is after 2 1/2 minutes then we get a calm a minute later before themes are repeated. Excellent!

"Times" is the one song I have trouble with. I'm not into that energetic intro with vocals, drums and organ. It does change around 1 1/2 minutes though as we get drums and organ only and the organ sounds incredible. "You Went Away" is better with that quiet start with laid back vocals. He stops singing as the organ comes to the fore sounding really good once again. It's building as powerful vocals kick in. Contrasts continue and it all ends with a drum solo.

"Melanie" is a brighter song and uptempo with pulsing organ and drums as the vocals join in. Catchy but not one of my favs. It does sound much better starting before 1 1/2 minutes as it's more laid back but then it kicks in again. "Beautiful Scarlet" opens with some impressive drumming as the organ joins in then vocals. Organ to the fore as the vocals step aside. Contrasts continue then a calm with vocals and more. So good!

"Sympathy" is worthy of being a hit single in my opinion with those meaningful lyrics along with the organ and vocals. Timpani ends it. "Natures Fruit" is catchy with drums and vocals to start as the organ joins in. I like when the vocals stop a minute in and the organ comes to the fore. Vocals are back quickly though.

"Bird On A Wing" is a feel good song and quite relaxing. It does pick up a minute in with more passionate vocals. A nice instrumental section then back to the sounds of the intro. "Gods Of War" is such a good closer and it has a different vibe to it when compared to the other tracks. It opens with almost gothic-like harmonies with organ and more. Spoken words take over 1 1/2 minutes in as the drums continue. Great instrumental sound 4 minutes in with the organ and drums especially. Vocals are back before 5 minutes. A powerful tune.

I kind of lean towards the second album with the side long track "Flight" that is quite proggy and experimental, but this one is more consistent in my opinion so get both(haha).

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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