Avion - 1986 White Noise

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986

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ARTIST: Avion
ALBUM: White Noise
LABEL: EMI Australia
SERIAL: 1C 064 430046 1
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 1986, OZ Records, 43 0046-2

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Randall Waller - vocals, guitars * Paul Gannell - guitars, vocals * Evan Murray - piano, synthesisers, vocals * Kendall Waller - bass, vocals * John Waller - drums, vocals * Sam McNally - synthesisers

TRACK LISTING: 01 Celebration * 02 Berlin Wall * 03 Elle * 04 In My Mind * 05 Ships * 06 We've Got Secrets * 07 Calm Before The Storm * 08 The Next Big Thing * 09 On And On * 10 Never Too Late

Background

One of the truly great Australian melodic rock bands, and one that was truly underrated at the time too! Formed around the trio of the Waller brothers, the band first came together as the outfit Lionheart. Becoming the less predictably named Avion in 1981, their fantastic debut from 1983 is still rated as one of the best from that fair country. However the cult following was not forthcoming at home, instead interest being generated elsewhere around the globe. The big production from Bob Clearmountain lifting that album to great heights. By the time 1986 came around, the band had acquired a new guitarist in Paul Gannell, who had replaced Martyn Toole, plus Sam McNally came onboard to add extra zing in the keyboard/synth department. A majority of the songs were produced by renowned Aussie producer Peter Dawkins, though the songs came together from four separate sessions between 1985 and 1986.

The Songs

Some of these songs are fairly special and have sat well with me for many years. Avion open up with the fantastic 'Celebration', a punchy melodic romp with sizzling crisp guitars and tingling synths for the most part. 'Berlin Wall' takes on a poppier stance, close to Icehouse era 'Man Of Colors', or even Canadian band Agent. The next track 'Elle' is a pulse laden affair, the bass line giving it a racy groove. The next pairing are standout tracks.. AOR of the finest sort contained within the boundaries of 'In My Mind' while 'Ships' was one of my fave tracks of 1986. The hypnotic and atmospheric melodies drawing you in from intro to exit: 'two ships pass in the night, sailing both out of sight, both looking for one another..'. Side Two commences with another highlight - 'We've Got Secrets'. This one is along the lines of UK AORsters Ya Ya and Outside Edge, the keyboards are everywhere! The boys rock it up on the excellent 'Calm Before The Storm' - the guitars have a stronger presence here. Admittedly, 'The Next Big Thing' sounds rather banal in the vocal department, but it's offset by the guitar/keyboard interplay of 'On & On' and 'Never Too Late' - probably not as strong as the material before, but we're talking Avion here people, even their 'so-so' moments are better than average!

In Summary

The singles from the album didn't fare that well again ('We've Got Secrets'/'Bigger They Are', 'Celebration'/'Ransom' and 'Berlin Wall'/'On and On'), and the demise was topped off by the tragic death of keyboardist Evan Murray in a car accident at the end of 1987, which resulted in the band folding soon after. Only Randall Waller went on to bigger and better things, hooking up as a member of Aussie hopefuls Dragon in 1988, plus he teamed up with Sharon O'Neill and Bonnie Tyler's backing band, in Australia and the UK respectively. Since then however, he's played with Aussie legend Billy Thorpe, new country goddess Shania Twain, Keith Urban, and Rodney Crowell, as well as working in the CCM scene. I have to add this comment: if there was ever a trio of recorded albums that deserved a re-release onto CD (hint hint), it's the three Avion albums, albeit the Live '87 release is probably a bit raw. However 1983's 'Avion' and this one are essential.


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