Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Rare Bird - Epic Forest CD (album) cover


Rare Bird


Crossover Prog

3.41 | 88 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
4 stars Rare Bird's third album finds the band going through a heap of changes. Graham Field is out, and the old "two keyboardists, no lead guitar" approach of the band is no more - indeed, this time they have two lead guitarists.

This would prompt a shift in their sound, even if they had otherwise stayed the course stylistically, but there's more changes involved; having produced an early prog masterpiece in the form of As Your Mind Flies By, the group seem to have decided that the side-long Flight from that album was about as far into symphonic prog as they wanted to go, prompting them to dial back this time around. The songs are shorter, there's more influence from the sort of bluesy hard rock which was then-current, and in general the whole package seems much more conventional.

Whilst I can't say this hits the heights of its predecessor, I have to admit the band are quite good at this new sound. There's just enough progressive and power pop ingredients in the mix to stop affairs descending into tedious Led Zeppelin posturing, it's clearly a notch more thoughtful than much of the hard rock/blues rock at the time, there's an interresting dose of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young-esque harmony vocals and folk-rock influence on the title track, and on the whole it's an interesting new sound for the band. It's not the direction I'd have chosen for them in an idea world, but they make it work and more or less win me over.

The production values on this are notably tighter than on their preceding two albums; their debut was the first release from Charisma, and so was recorded on a tight budget and in a hurry because the fledgling company simply didn't have the resources to offer more. Their second album saw the band themselves try to take on the production process, and in later years they've admitted that they were a bit in over their head. By comparison, the album sounds remarkably good, the band certainly not wasting the opportunity presented by virtue of being on a major label.

The first issue of the album included a bonus 7" single with three extra songs on it; these have been appended to recent CD editions. Whilst "bonus tracks" are more of a product of the CD era, these songs very much fall into that category - in other words, they're inferior material which didn't make the cut for the main album. Setting them aside, though, Epic Forest provides a solid basis for a new beginning for what you could think of as Rare Bird Mk. II - there's no going back to the approach of the first two albums, but the fresh approach here is interesting in its own right.

Warthur | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this RARE BIRD review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.