Birds of Avalon

After several years of constant touring with The Cherry Valence, guitarists Paul Siler and Cheetie Kumar decided they'd had enough and disbanded the group (seven years of sitting in a van next to a drum kit isn't the glam life it seems to be). They settled down, got married and soon found themselves working on a new project, Birds of Avalon, a "progressive/psychedelic" quintet that also includes Craig Tilley (vocals), Scott Nurkin (drums) and David Mueller (bass). The North Carolina-based group has released a surprisingly strong debut with Bazaar Bazaar, a chugging pop-rock (with emphasis on the latter) effort in a space where ELO, Wolfmother and Sweet coalesce. Chugging and catchy glam rock tracks like "Bicentennial Baby," "Horse Called Dust" and "Superpower" carry the load, and Kumar/Siley's synchronized guitar lines are probably making Phil Lynott raise a pint somewhere. No matter that the shorter psychedelic pieces ("Instant Coma," "Wanderlust") come off as halfhearted, odd detours there's enough solid material here to make it worthwhile.

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