gullbuy music review

The Aerovons






The Aerovons CD coverThe Aerovons lived a dream come true in 1968 when they packed up their bags and traveled from St. Louis to London for a record deal with The Beatles label and the chance to record at Abbey Road Studios. A group of young anglophiles, The Aerovons played a perfect blend of 60s Brit pop inspired music which helped them secure the deal which brought some of their dreams come true. And while only 2 singles were the end results, and the entire Resurrection album was shelved at the last minute by their record label, RPM has seen fit to finally release the entire album, along with the released singles and unheard demos. Any fan of Beatles inspired 60s pop music should definitely check out this exciting collection of lost music, for The Aerovons add their own magical story to the time period.

The Aerovons released their first single The Train / Song for Jane (heard here as bonus tracks immediately following the Resurrection album)  in July, 1969. The a-side The Train actually sounds more like the pop music that The Bee Gees was releasing at the time (admittedly so, by Aerovons member Tom Hartman). It's a catchy pop ditty with sweeping strings and pounding piano. The b-side Song for Jane is much more in a McCartney acoustic / bubbling percussive mode with a really nice harpsichord solo. Neither side from the first single was included on the original lp configuration.

The second and last Aerovons single was World of You / Say Georgia. This single was released in September, 1969, and sadly all other recordings for the Aerovons debut album were shelved for 34 years. It's a real shame because World of You is a gorgeous pop confection in the first order, a tour de force of melody, an orchestrated gem with incredible hints of psych and pop goodness. It's hard to believe this song was written by kids who were 16 and 17 years old. Say Georgia, on the other hand, is direct emulation of The Beatles' Oh! Darling - a little too similar to make the song worth the while (and why emulate that song?). It's not one of The Aerovons best moments.

The demo version of World of You is also worth hearing (and it is included as a bonus track), it's more subdued (though it has the added element of chiming bells which is a nice touch) and still retains its haunting melodies, with a simpler take on the orchestration and instrumentation, it adds to the full recording quite well.

The only version of the original Resurrection album was a test pressing the boys in the band took home after it was recorded but before it was cancelled. The album sadly was never properly released, but RPM has replicated the test pressing track sequence with this cd version (with added bonus tracks including their first single and two demos).

There are a few cuts which are blatant Beatles sound-a-likes (not unlike a myriad of bands was doing in the late 60s, like Michael Lloyd's band The Smoke (not the UK band of the same name), Los Shakers from South America, and The Iveys (pre-Badfinger).

For instance, Resurrection (the title track) sounds like Across the Universe with a demonic twist, the previously mentioned Say Georgia, sounds like Oh! Darling, Something of Yours is reminiscent of Michelle, and She's Not Dead has the piano sound and melodic similarities to a bunch of Paul McCartney tunes like Lady Madonna or Let It Be.

It makes sense considering the boys in The Aerovons were 16, 17, 18 when these sides were recorded, and it's not surprising considering where the boys were recording (right down the hall from The Beatles in Abbey Road studios, in fact borrowing The Beatles instruments). So in that sense these songs can be seen as an extension of The Beatles ethos. If you spend your time (like I do) collecting The Beatles sound-a-likes and The Beatles covers and talking about them with other Beatles enthusiasts, these songs will soon grow on you.

Favorites of mine which didn't so directly mimic The Beatles (though still retained their sound and feel) were With Her (which does sound like a White album out take) with its splashes of waves and seagull sound effect which color its acoustic nature quite well; Bessy Goodheart which includes the playfulness of The Beatles vaudevillian sound and reminds me of The Tokens Beatles/Beach Boys inspired late 60s platter Intercouse thanks to its playful harmonies; The Years is a short ditty which is sublime and somewhat gummy in it sweet and easy feel not unlike Curt Boettcher's Millennium recordings; Everything's Alright is a bouncy romp which should have been a single side; and the album ender The Children ends the lp proper with The Aerovons lengthier psychedelic suite filled with multiple parts and sound effects - a great ending to the album.

We are also treated to a demo recorded after the final recordings of Resurrection, an introspective, McCartney-esque ballad called Here, which sadly was never really followed up thanks to the breakup of The Aerovons - a real shame because even though The Aerovons were quite derivative of their Beatlesque influence there was a real chance for growth, which was never to be.

---Patrick, May 4, 2004