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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Andrew Reed

As a Bird of the Air...

Review by Gary Hill

There is some effective music here. In fact, it all works well. The only real issue I have is that this might be a case where less would have been more. It has a tendency to feel monolithic at times. If some of the songs that are similar were cut out of the release (perhaps held for a later one?) this would be a stronger release. Then again, a lot of people these days just listen to a song or two at a time rather than a full set. So, in those cases, I guess it doesn't really matter. Overall there is a lot of 80s rock along with alternative in the mix. Still, it gets proggy here and there, too. Other elements show up, as well.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
As a Bird of the Air...
Keyboards and guitar bring this into being with a dreamy, trippy kind of proggy sound. The vocals make me think of Roger Waters just a bit. There is a suitably soaring kind of prog-based sound further down the road.
Strangers

Much more of a straight-ahead rocker, the keyboard textures on the piece lend some mild hints of prog. There is a definite 80s pop rock element here, too. This has some solid riffs and hooks and works well. At times the vocals make me think of Billy Idol just a bit.

Escape
That 80s vibe is all over this driving, rocking kind of tune. It has some intriguing keyboard elements, a driving energy and some cool hooks. It's another winner.
Twisted World
The general concept hasn't changed much here. This is another tasty 80s-inspired piece. I like the guitar fills on the number a lot.
Too Little Too Late
This driving tune has a bit of an alternative rock edge, but is greatly informed by psychedelia and old-school garage music.
Dropping Out of the Race
More 80s styled stuff, this is a good soaring tune, but the formula is starting to wear a bit thin.
Memory
A bit more of a dreamy tune, this still has plenty of that 80s vibe at its heart. While it's still a little samey, it manages to stand tall among the set.
Take My Hand (By the Sea)
Fired up 80s music is the concept here. I'm reminded of acts ranging from A Flock of Seagulls to Duran Duran and The Cure. The chorus makes me think of Simple Minds a bit. This is one of the standout tunes here.
I Need Her Love
The formulaic element really hurts this tune. The up-tempo rock meets psychedelia and 80s music concept is pretty solid, meaning that this tune by itself stands tall. Among all the too similar sounds of the album it gets lost, though.
Musical Woman
In some ways this reminds me a bit of John Lennon. That element gets mixed with more of the same rock and 80s sounds we've heard throughout the set. This manages to hold up within the scope of the set.
Talk to Me
This is one of the highlights of the set. It has a great energy and plenty of 80s rock and even some prog in the mix. It's driving and so cool.
Another Time Another Place
Keyboards make up the music on this mellower tune. While the vocals don't add to the effect, this musically sounds a lot like something that might have come from Alan Parsons Project. It's a pretty tune that does a good job of bringing variety to the table.
As a Bird of the Air... (Reprise)
A reprise of the opening piece serves as a nice bookend for the set. This has the same musical concepts as the earlier part did. It really is a great closer.
 
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