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Air Pavilion - 1994 Sarrph Cogh

ARTIST: Air Pavilion
ALBUM: Sarrph Cogh
LABEL: Inside Out (Japan)
YEAR: 1994


LINEUP: Tak Yonemochi - guitars, vocals * Shig Nakajima - keyboards, computer * Kelly Hansen - lead and backing vocals * Tom Croucier - bass, backing vocals * Jay Schellen - drums * Moon Calhoun, Yuko Hirose - backing vocals * Jake E Lee, Mitch Perry - additional guitar spots

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Reflection * 02 Angel Looking Evil * 03 Hold Onto Your Dreams * 04 Cerulean Blue (Classical Version) * 05 Pompeii Calling * 06 Searching All Over * 07 Go All The Way * 08 Hero In Black (A Song For Freddie Mercury) * 09 Rays Of The Sun * 10 The One And Only Thing * 11 Cerulean Blue (Band Version)

Before I get started, can someone please explain to me what the album title means? 'Sarrph Cogh'. It would have to be one of the strangest album titles I've come across. Is it Celtic? And how about the album jacket. Is that Sir Ian McKellen on the front cover? Hmm, anyway, Air Pavilion. A mostly Japanese project headed by guitarist Tak Yonemochi. As I see it, over the course of four albums, Air Pavilion come across as the Japanese equivalent of Phenomena, with mostly one or two musicians anchoring the project, with guest musicians filling in the spaces. This is AP's third album, with 'Kaizoku' and 'Cutting Air' released in 1989, this one in 1994 and 'The River/The Life' in 1999. For this CD, there are appearances from the Hurricane pairing of Kelly Hansen and Jay Schellen and Life By Night bassist Tom Croucier. Former Ratt bassist and brother Juan Croucier produced, mixed and engineered the album.

The Songs
From the outset, I found this album a hard listen. The material sounds like it was assembled from different stages, and I had to give it a few spins to understand it all. 'The Reflection' was a strong lead-off, powerful and pumping, grandiose in some parts too. 'Angel Looking Evil' came over as a metallized version of Shadow King, though the lyrics were overly busy and proved a distraction. Best track by far is 'Searching All Over'. It's got everything you wanna hear in a melodic rock track. 'Hero In Black' is dedicated to the late Feddy Mercury and suggests there is upside to the Air Pavilion songwriting effort. 'The One And Only Thing' also rocks tough, but other than that, the other songs didn't make the grade. 'Cerulean Blue' and 'Rays Of The Sun' were two boring numbers, while 'Hold Onto Your Dreams' and 'Pompeii Calling' both had redeeming moments but all too infrequently to remain interesting.

In Summary
Overall, 'Saarph Cogh' was an OK album, but equally it wasn't a great album either. I'm glad I didn't believe all the hype back in my CD buying years of 1994. Saved myself a small fortune. It certainly isn't one to go chasing hard for in the second hand market, and don't believe the exorbitant prices you now see on E-Bay. The price does not meet the quality. If you can pick it up for under $10, then that would be a fair price, but I'd pay no more than that.

Air Pavilion - 1994 Searching All Over

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