Fireworks

Brockmann & Andrade - 'Airs: A Rock Opera' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/d2/3e/aa/2870_brockmannandandradeairsarockopera_1350927617.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 22, 2012    
 
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Recommended to those readers whose tastes encompass a broad variety of melodic music styles.

One of the satisfactions of being associated with a magazine such as Fireworks happens when one is specifically approached by the artist/band and asked to review his/her/their new album. It’s a tremendous responsibility, but they normally add that they believe it is something I will like…And when it turns out to be an out and out gem, as this one is, then it really is a complete joy! On this occasion, the initial approach actually came from one of the contributing vocalists, Gordon Tittsworth (Orphan Project, Images Of Eden). Note that Dave Meros and Alan Morse (both Spock’s Beard) and Paul Adrian Villareal (Sun Caged) also contribute to ‘Airs’, along with many others.

Does the “A Rock Opera” in the title of an album fill you with foreboding? Well, I have heard some desperate attempts over the years, but this one is up there with the best, and I have had a problem in taking this one out of the CD player in order to give sufficient listens to the other albums I am reviewing this time! There are eighteen individual tracks spread across 74 minutes, the album being subdivided into six parts. I am not going to elaborate upon the background story here, or of how Steve Brockmann and George Andrade “met” one another, as I will be doing a feature about this for Fireworks #54. Suffice it to say for now, that both are somewhat unconventional!

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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No single musical style predominates within this rock opera, one that I have seen described as “a theatrical feast for the heart and mind”, and frequently there is a lot going on. However, early in the narrative, the songs ‘Fateful Days’ and ‘Kites’ are impressive and uplifting melodic journeys redolent of early Kansas and Styx, but there are also some quite technical, progressive sections too, one of the early standouts thus being ‘Flight’, and a later highlight being ‘Grounded II’. There are a couple of quite stirring and dramatic, if somewhat brief, instrumentals while the vocal passages are mainly male voiced in the early part of the work, and female voiced in the second half. Of the latter, the exquisite, quite soulful song ‘Hannah’ and incorporating a somewhat jazzy feel, is for me another highlight.

But then, I have found ‘Airs’ to be a quite exceptional piece of work in respect of this initial collaboration between multi-instrumentalist Brockmann and American writer Andrade and the quality of the individual and collective performances among an extensive cast of players is largely exemplary. My only abiding doubt is in having the central character, Owen, voiced by no fewer than five different singers across the narrative.

 Nevertheless, this is an album I can warmly recommend to those readers of this magazine and web site whose tastes encompass a broad variety of melodic music styles.

Paul Jerome Smith

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