America never really ‘did’ prog back in the genre’s heyday when the likes of Yes and ELP were wowing Stateside audiences. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given their embracement of the facile ‘have a nice day’ culture and being in thrall to the schmaltzy spotlight of everything Hollywood. However, their own take on it, pomp rock, certainly threw out some stunning music. At the top end you had the likes of Kansas, Styx and Starcastle, but as with prog in the UK, the US pomp scene is equally littered with worthy bands who, alas, fell by the wayside.
Seattle quintet Aviary were signed to Epic and relocated to LA to be managed by Yes manager Brian Lane. Their sole lbum is a heady brew of pomp rock with definite progressive flourishes. ELO are writ large all over Anthem For The USA, 10cc on Puddles, while As Close As You Can Get is prime 70s US pomp. Average Boy comes on like a blend of City Boy and Sparks.
The album was released at the height of new wave in 1979, with label and management alike keen for the band to head in that direction. Needless to say, this failed to take off in the manner of the feathered plane (Aviary – geddit?) on the original cover.
For pomp rock fans, however, this album – lavishly repackaged here by Rock Candy with extensive sleevenotes – remains a sure fire certainty.