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Ambrosia - Road Island CD (album) cover



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4 stars After their first two albums, Ambrosia seemed to shift gear and move towards soft R&B and pop fluff. Life Beyond LA, apart from its singles, seemed morose and bland. One Eighty was a bit more energetic but still lightweight and starting to get silly. Buying this CD, I was expecting to hear more of the same, and find a just a few tracks that I liked on this album. But they actually gave it their all for this! Every song is good, and most are EXCELLENT! The lyrics give away the fact the band knew they were recording their last album.

The opening song sounds very much like Pink Floyd (probably because the album is produced by Pink Floyd engineer James Guthrie). A tiny bit bland compared to the rest of the album, but it's an acceptable opener to this album. Very heavy song.

Still Not Satisfied is a very good song, just prog rock enough to make it interesting. Good harmonies and awesome groove.

Not A Kid Anymore is a bit 80s huey lewis style cheesey, but the manic marimba solo (and top notch playing) redeems it. If they had made this a bit heavier or something it might have sounded better. It's still better than most of the stuff off the previous two albums.

Feeling Alive Again is a beautiful McCartneyish ballad. Outstanding vocals by David Pack.

How Can You Love Me is an good song, not particularly original but with good harmonies and playing. A bit dated sounding, the 80s crept into this track too.

Fool Like Me is an achingly beautiful song that sounds vaguely like Genesis on Then There Were Three, with a soaring guitar and a wistful, noodling keyboard solo.

Ice Age is a very creative prog rock song with innovative (for the time) use of technology. Synchronized echoing vocal lines and a very heavy drum sound, and of course time signature changes.

Endings is a good song to close the album with, a bit of a Beach Boys sound to the vocals and a haunting electric piano break.

If you liked their first few albums but wondered what happened after that, you'll definitely like this album!

Report this review (#59352)
Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Good album by Ambrosia as they return to their Prog and Rock roots. The song Ice Age is a Prog Rock gem only Ambrosia could have recorded a song that begins with a Saber tooth tiger grawl and ends with a Glacier crash Brilliant song! Engineered and Produced by James Guthrie who engineered and coproduced Pink Floyd's The Wall.
Report this review (#166770)
Posted Monday, April 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars On Ambrosia's last album, "Road Island", they seemed to be trying to get back to some progressive elements and they actually made some respectable songs here. However, after the commercial success of "One Eighty", music enthusiasts were not taking them seriously and the music on this album was just too deep for the top 40 music lovers to appreciate.

The first track sounds like it is going to take off and go somewhere, but never really does, but at least it is better than any of the tracks from the previous album. "Still Not Satisfied" is better and shows a lot more hope for a possible return to good musci for Ambrosia. "Kid No More" has become one of my favorite Ambrosia tracks, with it's break-neck speed and chaotic sound and I just love the surprise of the added xylophone that is thrown in the middle. If Ambrosia had stayed around, this is where I would hope they would have headed which would have probably given them back the respect they deserved. "Feelin' Alive Again" is a nice ballad which almost seems to approach early "Phil Collins era Genesis" sound. Again, a lot of promise here. "How Can You Love Me" is the commercial throw-away track. "Fool Like Me" is another excellent ballad which has some very nice Pink Floyd-like progressions and is another one of my favs by this band. "Ice Age" is the highlight of the album and is good enough to say that it approaches the ingenuity of their debut album. Unfortunately, the album ends with a rather weak track called "Endings". Overall however, I liked this album and it was at least nice to see that they were trying to get back to the sounds of the amazing debut album, which they were never quite able to match.

Report this review (#265976)
Posted Saturday, February 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Ambrosia released a quite successful album in terms of sales prior to this one. But successful doesn't mean full of quality. And it was definitively the case of "One Eighty" which was just a poor collection of AOR songs.

This one (and their last one) is not as weak though. But don't expect too much prog extravaganza of course. A good opener ("For openers - Welcome Home"), which is nicely rocking and features some fine guitar breaks and powerful organ, is the best that you can get out of this "Road Island".

Here and there, one can hear some nice instrumental parts (mainly guitar) but the songwriting is average ("Still Not Satisfied"). The band also felt necessary to record some syrupy and useless track like "Feelin' Alive Again" which is only a dreadful rock ballad that can easily be avoided. Should I recommend the press next button? Yes, I guess?Well, to be honest, the guitar break that sits in the second part is quite good.

This album is not as bad as their previous ones but I didn't rate any of their albums with more than two stars. The same applies here because it holds too many weak tracks ("How Can You Love Me" and the long and basic rock "Ice Age") to deserve the three stars rating.

Report this review (#307284)
Posted Friday, October 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Hats off to ambrosia for this one!!

After two great albums which showed their progressive leaning fused with memorable melodies, the band went for a much simpler and sticky kind of songs in their next two albums, which you should avoid with all costs. despite their great success and good sales ambrosia released their last album in 1982 which saw them returning to a more interesting style i wouldn't go far and call it progressive rock but definitely not your regular sticky rock songs , but much more well written songs ,with great energies.

One thing i will give ambrosia is the fact that they could always write beautiful melodies and this one is no different. what you'll hear in the first listen is that this album is rockier than ever , even rockier than their debut. they unleashed this raw sound , with distorted guitars top that with their always fine vocals and you have a great set of songs.

The album starts with my favourite song on the album , the rockiest of them all ,great pounding drums , killer riff , beautiful vocals , and of course the solo , how great is this one hiting all the right notes , like i said hats off!!! the momentum is not wasted and there goes another rocky tune with great guitar riff beautiful vocals and again totally amazing guitar solo , i never heard dave pack like this before, it seems like he really missed this, what a great drive!! the album keeps up being interesting and you can find some more great moments like "kid no more" out of the blew xylophone solo , or "ice age" which is pretty progressive clocking at 7 minutes. deffinitely a good song!! "endings" starts like another AOR song , beautiful but AORish, after a minute and half it changes and the beauty increased going to a more touchy melody followed with great emotional guitar solo, one of the better songs by ambrosia. of course they can't go without some more kind of AORish songs , you got "feelin' alive again" and "fool like me" which are AOR but they are not bad songs like you heard on previous albums , i like to hear them with the rest of the album.

In conclusion i wouldn't recommend it for new comers , but deffinitely for you that already like their debut. another thing is the muddy sounding album not at all like their first two with alan parsons , this is a real downfall i'm not sure why , they already had their success , weird. a remaster is terribly needed!! if this were in a symphonic prog genre i would give it about 2.5 stars, but it is not!! it is a prog related genre , where it should so i'm only proud to give it a solid 4 stars. great ending to their career. with a great album!!

Report this review (#635194)
Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 | Review Permalink

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