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Ambrosia - Life Beyond L.A. CD (album) cover



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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars With this third album, I now recognize the Ambrosia, as I always knew they were. Some sort of well made soft-rock that populated the charts at the end of the 70's but was never my cup of tea. I was never fascinated by this cross of America (the group) , Fleetwood Mac (Rumors era), Steely Dan and Doobie Bros (the later period with Michael McDonald) and so many more.

Gone are the Steely Dan-sounding proggy tunes of the first two albums, and here we fall in a really tedious run-of-the-mill FM rock where every song feels like the previous one and the next one. I could simply not be bothered to listen to the album as a whole because this type of music is simply irritating me, and once in the middle of the songs, I skipped to the next one (but I did force myself to try the album twice).

If you are interested in investigating Ambrosia, check-out the first two albums but avoid this at all cost as well as the following albums.

Report this review (#28258)
Posted Thursday, April 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Completing the trilogy of worthwhile albums from Ambrosia is this. It also represents the beginning of the band's decline, although how low they would go is only slightly hinted at here. The album starts out strong with the title track (straight-ahead rock with synthesizers) and the subtle "Art Beware" and "Apothecary". "If Heaven Could Find Me" is less memorable, but it is the fifth track ("How Much I Feel") that probably did the most damage to the band's prog credentials. The second half of the album is also not particularly memorable except for "Angola", a tongue-in-cheek look at the gap between rich and poor "Dancng by Myself" and "Not as You Were" are mediocre, but "Heart to Heart" is a nice little ballad. The closing tune, "Ready for Camarillo", is probably not a meaningful lyric unless the listener knows that there was a state mental hospital in Camarillo, California at one time.

After this album, the band would deteriorate into the pure pop of "180" (the title refers to a 180 degree change of direction), followed by the weird "Road Island", so this was to be the band's last decent (but unfortunately flawed) effort.

Report this review (#129589)
Posted Saturday, July 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars This was Ambrosia's 3rd release, and even though it didn't come close to their amazing debut album, I think it was stronger and better than the 2nd release "Somewhere I've Never Travelled" which I feel was too forced. I know that seems to be opposite of what others think, but LBL.A. just seems so much more natural and is so much more enjoyable to me. The title track is a strong opener and puts the listener in the mood for the rest of the album. "Art Beware" has some good prog elements and a really good harmonica solo and this short song leads into the next track "Apothecary" which is a really nice jazz-tinged song. The next three tracks, Ambrosia gives into commericialism, and even though they might be nice songs and better than a lot of commercial aritists, they are bland compared to Ambrosia's better works. Angola is an interesting song with a lot of humor to keep it interesting and an intentional "over the top" instrumental in the middle. "Heart to Heart" is a beautiful ballad which I feel would have been a great radio track, but I don't believe it was ever released as a single. "Not as You Were" is a stupid throw-away track. "Ready of Camarillo" ranks up there as one of their best ever tracks which shows that they still were inspired by love of music more than money. If all the songs were of this caliber on this album, then it definately would have been considered essential, but because of the inconsistency of excellent tracks and bland tracks intermixed on this album, it only gets 4 stars.
Report this review (#265973)
Posted Saturday, February 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars I never really appreciated Ambrosia , and it was a surprise to discover them on PA.

Prog related. Hummm. Well, I am still looking for the relation to be honest. American FM music fits much better to the description of their output (even their first two albums were really borderline IMO). But this effort tops them with no doubt.

Funky moods during the title track, jazzy mixture for "Apothecary", I have to say that this album is far from the idea I have of prog related music. Syrupy stuff there is. Too much. I really can't stand such a basic pop affair ("If Heaven Could Find Me") but the worst of all is "How Much I Feel". Some sort of Motown track. Press next as soon as you can to avoid it.

Unfortunately, what's next is just the same poor stuff with the same characteristics. Not even basic US rock music. It is just a collage of weak songs all the way through. Ouch! It hurts! I think I was wrong when I thought that "How Much I Feel" was the worst song of all: "Angola" definitely deserves this title. It is another press next type of song.

But there are hardly anything positive to retain out here. Just pass your way and don't spend any time, or any euro for this very poor album. One star, what else?

Report this review (#307282)
Posted Friday, October 29, 2010 | Review Permalink

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