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Ambrosia - Ambrosia CD (album) cover




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3.87 | 121 ratings

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4 stars One of those bands I long dismissed. I just thought of them as a soft rock band and that's it. Doesn't help that their big hit was "How Much I Feel". Didn't quite realize they started off playing art rock, as this 1975 debut, released on 20th Century Fox Records (they moved to Warner Bros. in 1978 and had their first two albums reissued there, unfortunately the Warner reissue of Somewhere I've Never Travelled missed the gimmick cover of the original) plainly shows. I found an LP copy of their 1975 debut for next to nothing at a local record store, feeling like I have nothing to lose, and I was rather surprised. Nice, sophisticated use of vocal arrangements, as if these guys listened to Gentle Giant (not to mention Yes, and perhaps Queen), but their music, for the most part, is rather accessible (obviously, compared to say, Gentle Giant).. Some of the cuts features a Chamberlin (an American predecessor to the Mellotron which works in a similar way). With help from Alan Parsons as an engineer, I am not one big surprised of the high quality production. In fact Ambrosia did lend a hand on the Project's own Tales of Mystery & Imagination.

"Nice, Nice, Very Nice" is a rather nice, '70s piece set to a Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. poem. Those flutes you hear come from a Chamberlin. "Time Waits For No One" is a great example of those sophisticated vocal arrangements I was telling you about. "Holdin' On to Yesterday" is a rather straightforward soft rock song, and unsurprisingly gave them their first hit. I really can live without "World Leave Me Alone". It tries to rock, but many of those lyrics really make me cringe. "Lover Arrive" is a gentle ballad, but I really get a kick off "Mama Frog". This is probably the most full-on prog, that, and the next piece, "Drink of Water". The former also features some synth droning and a quote from Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky. "Drink of Water" starts off a bit like a Styx song sung by Tommy Shaw (the vocals even sounds a bit like him), but I really dig the vocal harmonies (almost Yes-like), but I really like how the piece gets more progressive.

I like it when I find albums like this and be rather surprised. I understand that they become more of an AOR act by the time of Life Beyond L.A. (which features "How Much I Feel"), so I'm glad early on they had so much to offer as this 1975 debut demonstrates.

Progfan97402 | 4/5 |


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