CD: The Secret of Movin' On,
August 09, 2005
The heart of Ambrosia's soft rock success was found in two major arteries: super-polished, smooth productions easily accessible for the top of the pop charts, and the songwriting skill and vocals of lead singer David Pack. After nearly a two-decade sabbatical from releasing any new material, Pack returns with an arsenal of '70s arena rock all-stars making guest cameos: Ann Wilson, Timothy B. Schmidt, and Steve Perry all make guest appearances to accentuate songs that are predictably light and accessible. But these guest contributions only help already well-written and performed songs ascend to a level of quality that Ambrosia fans have come to expect. Enlisting the dynamic smooth jazz duo of Russ Freeman and David Benoit for arrangements and production helps out at points, and traces of their two collaborative projects find their way into The Secret of Movin' On. But the album is certainly not without fault. A re-recording of "Biggest Part of Me" and a hideous remake of "You're the Only Woman" are nowhere near as good as the originals and only serve as a reminder of how good Ambrosia truly was, especially in comparison to this coffeehouse fodder (double irony points for a re-recording of a song that includes the lyric "You can't go back and change the way things are"). And the duet on "A Brand New Start" needs less Pack and a lot more Steve Perry, who only provides glimpses and traces of vocal contributions in the background. It's an above-average adult contemporary album from an artist finding his way back to the top of the soft rock heap.
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