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Ambrosia

Ambrosia

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Album Review

Although they would become better known for smooth AOR ballads like "How Much I Feel," Ambrosia first made their name with this album of progressive rock with a pop music twist. Its songs skillfully blend strong melodic hooks and smooth vocal harmonies with music of an almost symphonic density. Good examples of this crossbreeding are "Drink of Water," which sounds like the Beach Boys tackling a Pink Floyd space rock epic, and "Nice, Nice, Very Nice," which utilizes a combination of stately close-harmony vocals and dynamic instrumental breaks to put forth a clever lyric derived from a Kurt Vonnegut novel. The complexity of the music is further highlighted by its crystal-clear sonic landscape, mixed by Alan Parsons, which highlights unique touches like the use of a Russian balalaika ensemble and 300-year-old Javanese gongs on "Time Waits for No One." Despite this prog rock ambitiousness, the group is smart enough to avoid letting their instrumental chops take precedence over their music's melodic content: They keep their songs succinct and punchy (nothing extends over six-and-a-half minutes) and they infuse tunes like "Lover Arrive" and the radio favorite "Holdin' on to Yesterday" with a delicate sense of pop songcraft that makes the group's cinematic sound easy for listeners to assimilate. The end result is an album that is intricate enough to please prog rock addicts but catchy enough to win over a few pop fans in the process. Though Ambrosia would go on to score bigger hits later in their career, this is definitely their most cohesive and inspired album.

Customer Reviews

My Dad Designed the Album Cover Art

I've always had a place in my heart for Ambrosia, and especially this album.
My dad Eddie Douglas designed the album cover artwork, and since he past
away several years ago it's cool to see that his art lives on. :)

Breezy Douglas

An Overlooked Masterpiece

An overlooked masterpiece is what this album truly is.Just a listen from front to back(maybe a couple of times)and you know these guys can REALLY compose, play , sing,and heed the value of production.After all,there was a reason why they were Alan Parsons' backing band for the Mystery, Tales & Imagination album a few months later!

Classic but still VITAL!

Ambrosia when they were original, creative and astounding. A SPECTACULAR debut album by what were essentially a bunch of kids. Superb production, arrangements and recording flesh out accomplished musicianship and adventuresome song writing. Gut wrenching decisions and doubt leave one searching for answers in "Drink of Water" - the musical hook majestically played on a pipe organ that was actually recorded in a cathedral; the natural ambience of the vast space preserved. The radio hit "Holding On To Yesterday" takes on enhanced poignancy with repeated listening. "Nice, Nice, Very Nice" with partial lyrics by Kurt Vonnegut! These guys THOUGHT about their music in ways that's mostly lost today.

I saw them open for Kansas during the latter's "Point of No Return" tour. Ambrosia started their set with "World Leave me Alone". Most of the crowd had no idea who they were for the first few songs. But as soon as they performed "Holding On to Yesterday" everyone came alive. After that moment the band played to a crowd of attentive, new fans as they astoundingly recreated complex compositions such as "Time Waits for No One" with abandon and conviction leaving us all mesmerized. This was after "Somewhere I've Never Travelled" had been released - but they were still virtually unknown to the public at large. After that album they went sooo sickeningly commercial and pop that I had to bid all future releases farewell.

Biography

Formed: 1971 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Los Angeles quartet Ambrosia, whose founding members included guitarist/vocalist David Pack, bassist/vocalist Joe Puerta, keyboardist Christopher North, and drummer Burleigh Drummond, fused symphonic art rock with a slickly produced pop sound. The group was discovered in 1971 by Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Zubin Mehta, who featured Ambrosia as part of a so-called All-American Dream Concert. However, it took them four more years to get a record contract; Ambrosia was released in 1975 and spawned...
Full Bio
Ambrosia, Ambrosia
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