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Aardvark - Aardvark CD (album) cover

AARDVARK

Aardvark

 

Crossover Prog

3.40 | 61 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

bristolstc
4 stars Aardvark were one of those groups like Locomotive and the later period Nice who used no guitar and relied completely on the organ as a lead instrument. Steve Milliner, the organist, would go on to play in Caravan for the Waterloo Lily album and David Skillin, here as a vocalist, wrote the lyrics for Home's The Alchemist some years later. This is either a record you are going to love or hate, mainly because of the deadpan almost mocking vocals and the relentless pounding yammering organ freak outs. The group are capable musicians and nearly every track works perfectly, so I'd be in the former category. I once owned an original of this 11 years ago, and I still regret the fact that I didn't keep it. Now all I have is a boot I've had for 7 years, but at least I can listen to it when I feel like it. This record has some real high points like the berserk slice of psychedelic progressive mayhem "The Greencap" with distorted vocals and vicious organ. This is a Heavy album, a lot like Deep Purple without the guitar, yet Skillin's voice is as far from the early metal genre as you can get, sounding more like Justin Hayward, David Bowie, and a relaxed Jim Morrison(!). The Doors influence is there in the organ too. All of side one is brilliant, from the clever opening track "Copper Sunset" to the wild last tune "I Can't Stop." Side Two is where Aardvark show no mercy, going for an organ destroying and smashing binge for two long tracks. In fact, the closing "Put That In Your Pipe And Smoke It" is nothing but loud organ feedback and noise. My ears find this a bit hard to listen to a lot of the time. When form and structure are cast aside for sheer noise and brutality then I lose interest. However, there's something fun about this album that makes it impossible not to enjoy most of it. Aardvark have a sense of humour as exhibited on "The Outing- Yes!" which is very entertaining, and they also have some great melodies. "Once Upon A Hill" is a really nice Moody Blues like song in the middle of the storm of Side Two, but it's Side One that showcases the group at their best. The tracks are shorter, but also more inventive. "Many Things To Do" has some neat phased drums, vocals like Locomotive's Norman Haines, and a wild organ solo. While I would like to hear a guitar on this album, maybe it just wouldn't have fit in with the band. If the majority of hard rock bands use all guitar and no keyboards, then why not try it with all keyboards and no guitars? Here it works, and this is a unique and really good album. There is nothing pretentious about Aardvark, and while they may take a bit of time to get into, you will be rewarded. However, if full blown prog is your thing than this album sounds earlier than that, more a product of 60s experimentation than 70s symphonic prog. If you like the proto-prog sound of late 60s bands who used mainly gutiar such as UK Kaliedoscope then you may find this intriguing, and a bit weird too with the all organ no guitar set up. The lyrics, music, and songs are all really fun and very British, so this is a thoroughly enjoyable album if not a total masterpiece.
| 4/5 |

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