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CD Reviews: Avion
Avion: Avion
January 2005
By: Linda Spielman
Album cover of Avion's self-titled release

When really great bands break up, the reincarnation of the newly formed subgroups with former members can either be a really big hit or a really big miss. Such is the case of The Tories. After their dissolution, frontman Steve Bertrand bounced back onto the scene with the new group Avion. When it comes down to it, Avion is a definite hit to former Tories fans, industry professionals and the general listening public alike.

The word avion is the French translation for airplane. Just as an airplane physically takes a person far above the clouds to a place in their minds somewhat unreachable and beyond their imagination, so does the quality of the music that the band Avion has released with their debut CD. The melody-laden thirteen tracks on the CD literally catapult listeners into their own imaginations and interpretations of the lyrics and songs as a whole.

You can't deny the haunting familiarities to The Tories in such songs as Seven Days Without You or It Falls Back On Me. However, along with Betrand, Josh Dunahoo, Joey Clement, Ben Hazlett and Jamie Wollam have taken a familiar sound, built upon it and completely rejuvenated it for a whole new group of listeners. As Bertrand enthuses about the new group, "Some people say Avion sounds like the next generation of The Tories, and right now, with this band I am more fulfilled musically than ever. It's like starting over."

Bringing in virtually unknown artists to compose the new group, all with amazing talent, is a contributing element to the fresh sound of Avion. And, Bertrand's undeniable talent for creating visual, melodic hooks has made this CD a completely enjoyable listen.

With Seven Days Without You, a staple in rotation in most major radio markets, Avion's CD is packed full of stellar musical moments. You can't pin point one single aspect of the CD that conveys it's true identity. There are heartfelt as well as uplifting lyrics, a solid sound, complex musical arrangements and layering, and smooth production that pulls all the elements of this CD into a great debut for Avion.

With Seven Days Without You making a name for Avion, the next most notable track from it's first listen and to date the most quotable for reviewers is Beautiful. The song truly speaks for itself lyrically: Telluride and an afternoon hike / Big Bear at Firelight / Thanksgiving and a movie night / When we can't sleep. . . fireworks over Disneyland. Just that small sampling of lyrics immediately draws the listener into their own imagination of the song. Other notable mentions are Starting Over, It Falls Back On Me and The Best Is Yet To Come which tackle such introspective topics as relationship commitment, rediscovering the joys of life and the acknowledgement of a higher entity in personal survival and contentment.

Although Avion originally released this CD as an indie project, the success of it's first single made major labels take notice. Now with Columbia Records backing the CD, it can now reach even more people than its first go-round. With music and passion exceeding it's monetary cost, Avion's debut is a CD well worth the purchase.