Again produced by Alan Parsons and Freddie Piro, the second album by Ambrosia outdoes the first in production and performance! Although there are more straight-ahead rockers on this album, there is also more orchestral/symphonic playing too.
Starting softly with "And..." (sung by drummer Burleigh Drummond) and then breaking into the rockin' title song, the beautiful voices and great instrumentation are even more evident than before. The magic of Ambrosia is that the two lead vocalists bring to mind two of the greatest progressive rock vocalists of the period, Jon Anderson (with David Pack), and Peter Gabriel (Joe Puerta). The best of both worlds! The song "Cowboy Star" could be sub-titled "Soundtrack to a Western Movie," because by the middle of the orchestrated section after the smooth vocal ballad, you'll imagine you're riding across the plains on your trusty white horse.
"I Wanna Know" is more rock than prog (or is it? Must be heard to be judged!) and is my favorite song by this band. A benchmark example on how to use an orchestra and still rock & roll effectively. "The Brunt" isÖ very unusual. What does it sound like? Everything! ELP, tribal chants, Gentle Giant, they throw everything into this song along with the kitchen sink! It goes borderline manic at times. Next is a song about classical composer Chopin's affair with George Sand, the female author who pretended to be a man to gain notoriety. "Danse With Me George" has incredible piano/keyboard work by Christopher North and I love it when the brass/woodwind section comes in. It's exceptionally playful and lively!
Unfortunately, this is the last truly progressive album by this band. Although there are some prog tendencies on their next album Life Beyond L.A., by 1978 they had firmly established themselves into their Pablo Cruise/Player/Michael McDonald mode.
Perhaps the first self-titled album will appeal more to hard-core progressive rock fans, but Somewhere Iíve Never Travelled is at times way more adventurous. These two recordings are essential for any prog fans music collection and in my opinion belong on the shelf right there beside Close to the Edge and Foxtrot.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on February 28th, 2007