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by Keavin Wiggins
Avion  - Avion 
Label: Columbia / Red Ink
World You Notice* (Red Ink Version)
Seven Days Without You
Perfect From Now On
Where Are You Now
Starting Over
Bulletproof Glow
It Falls Back On Me
Trinidad And A DC-10
When I Breathe
Love Is Here Again
Best Is Yet To Come, The
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online


(editors note: This review was originally published covering the indie release. It has since been released in updated form by Columbia / Red Ink. We are republishing this review for those that missed it the last time.)

If the music of Avion sounds familiar, that is because you have probably heard frontman Steve Bertrand before, and did not even know it. If you ever watched Christina Applegate’s sitcom “Jesse,” then you heard Steve’s previous band The Tories, who not only provided the theme song but also most of the score. 

Avion is Steve’s latest musical adventure and it picks up where The Tories left off. The same ingredients that made The Tories such appealing melodic modern rockers are very much a part of Avion’s sound. 

Bertrand has an unmistakable voice and a knack for melody making; as a result, songs he composes usually have more hooks than a large bait shop. But the most intriguing thing about Steve’s songwriting has always been his lyrics. He doesn’t seem content to deliver by the numbers love songs or songs that expand on your typical rock topics. He instead picks some interesting topics to sing about. On the Tories debut that ranged from the classic Jimmy Stewart film “It’s A Wonderful Life,” to a character on the 60s sitcom “Bewitched”.  But even when Steve tackles similar topics with his lyrics, he still has an uncanny ability to deliver the lines with poetic finesse. 

The song “Beautiful” is a perfect example: “Telluride and an afternoon hike / Big Bear by the firelight / Thanksgiving and a movie night / When we can't sleep …  Fireworks over Disneyland / Airplane will you hold my hand / Without you all the colors bland / And I can't fake it…  84 to Multinomah falls / Success I want to share it all / Vermont and the smell of fall / And life is grand.” 

Bertrand is at home pulling on the heartstrings and delivering solid melodic pop, which is the formula that makes up the bulk of this CD. But he is really at his best when he kicks things up a notch and rocks, as the song “Bulletproof Glow” demonstrates with its power that doesn’t compromise the hooks. 

A few years ago, this album would have been considered power-pop but with the advent of modern rock and band’s like Matchbox 20, Tonic and Dishwalla that definition changed, and Avion is right at home in that same company. Like the latter two, Avion uses a bit heavier guitar work and that helps keep the band from falling into the Adult Contemporary category. 

That blending of powerful guitars and melodious vocals kicks off right from the start with the lead off track “Perfect From Now On.” Bertrand’s almost Beatle-esq way with melody captures your attention almost at once.  The second song, “Loved”, has almost a Beck feel to it until you get to the “big” choruses. 

The first single “Seven Days Without You” is a bittersweet ballad, that may not win over rockers but is a surefire radio hit. “Beautiful” is classic Steve Bertrand with his unique vocal flourishes. 

I’ve about run out of room and I’m not even half through the album, but I can’t go without plugging the next song “Starting Over,” which is probably one of the best power-pop songs I’ve heard in a while. The light verse to heavy chorus are flawless and the experimental feel of the instrumentation make this song really standout. 

If you’re a fan of The Tories, this CD is a no-brainer, you have to own it. The same goes for fans of Tonic and Dishwalla. If you have a taste for melodic rock with integrity, then you should most definitely checkout Avion. I was among those very saddened when The Tories parted ways, but I’m overjoyed with the next chapter in Steve’s musical biography. 

But don’t take my word for it, check out the link to the official Avion site and check out the listen section which has clips of all the songs. 

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