The Aerovons - Resurrection
Pick up The Aerovons’ stunning debut (and only) album Resurrection and you will have in your hands a fascinating myth-perpetrating story that will further endear the music to your heart the deeper you delve. The story goes like this…precocious American teenager and massive Beatles fan Tom Hartman forms a band in the late-sixties, cuts a Beatle-esque demo named World Of You, somehow with the help of his mother (who was also his manager) secures a contract with EMI to record in London, gets to meet The Beatles and make music in Abbey Road with Beatles engineers, and crafts an instant psychedelic-pop classic that could launch the band to stardom of Beatles proportions. However, the final chapter didn’t go to plan, as some unfortunate lineup changes at the last minute forced EMI to panic and cancel the release of the album, leaving it to gather dust in their vaults for over three decades. Hartman and fellow band members parted for different lives, and they came within a whisker of realising their dream, only to see it fail at the final hurdle.
Thankfully, all good things come to those who wait, and The Aerovons’ lost classic of an album Resurrection, was finally released last year by RPM Records, remastered and with added bonus tracks included. Whilst it would no longer propel Tom Hartman towards legendary status, it would ensure that a few musical connoisseurs around the world would finally see his amazing raw musical talent, especially considering Hartman not only wrote and sang lead on all songs but produced the album himself whilst still a teenager. Upon listening to the album, first impressions will be based around how similar certain Aerovons songs are to their Beatles counterparts. The title track is a blatant reworking of what was then the unreleased Across The Universe (as the boys snuck a listen from some tapes in the studio) even down to the “Jai Guru Deva Om” style close-out, and Say Georgia bears more than a passing resemblance to Oh! Darling; you could even be a pedant and claim that the wonderful The Children is similar to the epic A Day In The Life with its two-in-one song structure, but no matter. It is important to understand that The Aerovons were so immersed musically into the world of The Beatles that the album would be interesting as a document even if its only virtue was to act as a chance to witness a band who simply could not avoid wearing their musical influences on their sleeve. Fortunately, there are enough ‘original’ songs on Resurrection to suggest that Hartman was a very capable songwriter.
To The Aerovons, The Beatles were gods that they merely wanted to pay worship too as opposed to compete with, so Resurrection should be seen as an offering by mortals to the immortal. It has so many Beatles Blue period motifs cut-and-pasted around each of the songs that Hartman was clearly a scholar when it came to emulating his heroes. Throughout Resurrection, Hartman manages to sing in the style of not just Lennon and McCartney but Harrison and Starr too, and unreleased song Here is arguably the best McCartney piano-ballad that Paul never wrote himself. Everything’s Alright could happily slot somewhere on Pepper between Getting Better and Good Morning, Good Morning and With Her sounds like And I Love Her but quickly convinces you that it has enough tricks up its own sleeve. If you are going to try and copy a band’s style, you may as well choose the best band in the world, and The Aerovons’ Words From A Song conjure up stylistic comparisons with Lennon’s This Boy and Yes It Is. Even so, the startlingly inventive opener World Of You, complete with strings and pop stereophonic effects suggested that Hartman knew how to write a smash-and-grab out-and-out pop song if he wanted. You only have to listen to the stand-out track on Resurrection, entitled She’s Not Dead, to sense the vocal maturity at play in the song’s dynamic structure.
Yes, The Aerovons are so Beatles-like it hurts, and yes they deliberately put themselves at footstool level in comparison to the Fab Four, but these are reasons to seek out Resurrection and cherish it, pass it on to friends and get annoyed when they haven’t returned it quickly, rather than dismiss it. Be warned, you’ll be angry it has taken you this long to find it, and even angrier to learn that as far as the Aerovons are concerned, that this is all you are ever going to get.
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