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Art In America - 1983 Art In America

ARTIST: Art In America
ALBUM: Art In America
LABEL: Pavilion
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 2008, Renaissance, RMED-0103


LINEUP: Chris Flynn - vocals, guitars * Shishonee Flynn - vocals, string harps * Dan Flynn - drums, percussion * Jim Kuha - bass, guitars, vocals * Garry Galloway - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Art In America * 02 If I Could Fly * 03 Undercover Lover * 04 Siantra Serenade * 05 The Line * 06 Loot * 07 Won't It be Strange * 08 Too Shy To Say * 09 Brett And Hibby


This is an unusual release, in that this band, complete with a trio of family members could dip their toes into a few musical genres, and still appear presentable. Originally from Detroit, the band were signed to the CBS family in 1982, and secured Eddy Offord as their producer. Musically, they combine elements of Marillion, Rush and Yes, and package it into a commercial blend of progressive rock. When they decide to do the AOR thing (by accident probably), a band like SPYS is a good comparison. It is a tad on the lightweight side, so for those of you looking for an eighties equivalent of Threshold, it's probably best to look and listen elsewhere.

The Songs
The tracks on the album are far removed from what was expected or typical of Detroit 'Motor City' rock n' roll acts. The band name becomes the album scene-setter. The glorious harp glissando precedes this 4 and half minute prog workout. 'If I Could Fly' didn't hold my attention for too long, I moved on instead to the lilting Marillion like 'Undercover Lover'. Nice. 'Sinatra Serenade' despite the name is not a ballad. It tries hard to be commercial but lacks the 'oomph' to be convincing. Much better is the energetic 'The Line', a lyrical reference to the tick-tock of everyday life as we stand in the grocery line. The commercial strains of 'Loot' deviate to AOR, here the SPYS reference kicks in. I quite like the pomp arrangement of 'Won't It Be Strange', the staccato keyboards and regimented back beat a hark back to the 70's. Taking the straight-ahead approach is 'Too Shy To Say', the nifty harp pizzicato effects embellishing the song. Finishing up the album is the Genesis like 'Brett And Hibby', but without the weird time-changes and Peter Gabriel odd-ball moments.

In Summary
The band still seem to be in some sort of shape years later. They have a page, which will introduce you to their music. Ironically, this style of prog is still being preached today, amazing how times might change and move on, but some genres remain the same from years gone by. Even the album cover is a Roger Dean lookalike, so if Yes needed a reminder that they influenced an entire generation of prog rockers, then they need look no further than Art In America for proof.

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#1 | gdazegod on April 10 2007 20:47:21
When was the last time you saw a huge bloody string harp in a hard rock video clip? My guess.. never! Well done to Art In America.
#2 | gdazegod on April 11 2007 03:00:00
YouTube Video:
#3 | Wally on February 28 2008 03:40:20
This album was a favorite of mine during the mid-eighties. I didn't have a cassette tape deck, so I wore out my first vinyl copy from repeated plays. I managed to replace it before the album went out of print. I was also fortunate enough to snag the CD release a few years back.

This album influenced me enough to make me buy a Rickenbacker bass. Way too bad this band never had the opportunity to release its second album.
#4 | rostoned on August 05 2008 18:34:12
Believe it or not the album made a quick appearance in the american albums chart, peaking at #176 during a 3-week run. I wonder who knew that the album was out at all at the time apart from their close relatives and friends....hmm!
#5 | Eric on September 10 2008 00:05:06
Art in America did quite a few dates with Ultravox supporting the record. An inspired bill- wish I had seen one the shows...
#6 | rostoned on September 10 2008 14:39:13
Just found out that they charted not one but two singles in the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart in the US: the title track which went to #22 during a 10 week run and 'Undercover Lover' which peaked at #33 during a 3 week run. This and the support gig described by Eric should justify their LP charting.

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