Artist/ Band: Ambrosia
Title: Life Beyond L.A.
Year of Release: 1978
Artist/ Band Link (click for details/ ordering)
- Okay, okay, I know... "How Much I Feel" and all that, I hear you screaming! No, that is not a progressive rock song by any stretch of the imagination. Still, after producing two incredible albums in the prog genre, Ambrosia released this work. I remember awaiting this with baited breath in 1978 and being so disappointed, although there is some good stuff here in retrospect.
The first song, "Life Beyond LA" is about the closest they would ever get to prog again, but it rocks and makes the album well worth the price. Then comes "Art Beware" and "Apothecary," both kind of jazz oriented, almost dissonant pieces that make you believe: "Okay, these guys haven't gone too far from their roots." Two pop entrenched songs follow with "If Heaven Could Find Me" and "How Much I Feel." "Heaven" has a great extended acoustic/electric guitar tradeoff instrumental section in the middle. The song itself is a good pop rock song, as is "How Much I Feel" really.
A Jazz based pop piece in "Dancin' By Myself" with excellent harmonies and a throw-away novelty song "Angola" lead to "Heart to Heart," one of the best acoustic guitar ballads you never heard. Vocals are shared throughout the album by the two lead singers in the band, Joe Puerta and David Pack. David's voice is the one on all the hits, but I prefer Joe's warmer and richer tone. Just as I prefer Peter Gabrielís warm rich baritone over the also excellent high, crystal clear voice of Jon Anderson. Joe uses these vocal skills to great effect on "Heart to Heart" and then as an added bonus David soars in with the refrain. The last two songs close out the album well, especially "Ready for Camarillo" which reminds me a little of "Drink of Water," the closing song from their first album.
For prog content, this album would not rate highly with most progressive rock fans. For pure musical enjoyment however, and the three or four really strong pop rock songs, it is an essential part of Ambrosiaís catalog.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on March 10th, 2007
- 1. Life Beyond L.A. (4:47)
- 2. Art Beware (2:15)
- 3. Apothecary (4:53)
- 4. If Heaven Could Find Me (4:28)
- 5. How Much I Feel (4:44)
- 6. Dancin' By Myself (4:42)
- 7. Angola (3:52)
- 8. Heart to Heaven (2:49)
- 9. Not as You Were (3:52)
- 10. Ready for Camarillo (4:55)
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