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Rare Bird - As Your Mind Flies By CD (album) cover


Rare Bird


Crossover Prog

3.98 | 183 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Rare Bird's second album is a major advance over their first, a sublime achievement achieved by the band focusing on the best material from their debut and polishing their songwriting until it shines, and then giving the performances of their lives in the studio itself. The interplay between Field and Kaffinetti's keyboards is never less than electrifying, and Steve Gould's lead vocals carry a drama and gravitas with them to rival labelmate Peter Hammill's.

Indeed, the group seem to have picked up a few tips from their pals in Van der Graaf Generator this time around, the material generally being darker and more foreboding than on the previous album, though the band retain their own personality throughout. The songs on the first side are all perfectly composed, the slow ballad What You Want to Know and the rocking Hammerhead being particular highlights, whilst the crown jewel of the album is the sidelong epic Flight. This seems to be an account of an astral projection experiment gone wrong, a cutting riposte to more unrealistic and idealistic lyrics peddled by other bands; far from soaring to heights of spiritual transcendence, the mystical narrator of the song instead ends up with a terrifying vision of some brutish mugger or rapist stalking human prey in Central Park.

In terms of sheer ambition, drama, and experimentation, this album easily outstrips its predecessor and lays stake to Rare Bird's claim as a vitally important band of the early prog scene, even if their later albums never quite managed to measure up to this one. I heartily recommend As Your Mind Flies By to any prog fan, particularly symphonic fans and those who enjoy Van der Graaf Generator; in particular, I'd say that if you're interested in exploring Rare Bird's music in the slightest there is simply no better place to start. In the infamous words of a certain future bandmate of Dave Kaffinetti, "this one goes to 11".

Warthur | 5/5 |


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