Almost from out of nowhere came this collaboration from the two Swedes KAJ BACKMAN (from Umeå in the north; keyboards and programming) and MATS JOHANSON (from Gothenburg; all guitars, as well as keyboards and programming). And goodness me – it is one of the biggest surprises in a long time in the westcoast & lite AOR genres!
With vocalists like FRANK ÅDAHL and GÖRAN EDMAN you are sure to get quality stuff, and all the other musicians involved are also top notch. The producers are JOAKIM STYREN, SCOTT WILLIAMSON and Finnish new star TOMI MALM (the latter known through his work on the Contante & Sonante label, including a great solo album from 2017).
Believe me, when the opener ”Cut and paste” makes you believe you are listening to a new JAY GRAYDON album or something! Even som 90’s LAVA tendencies to be found there. It includes great horns by TOM WALSH and magnificent lead vocals from MAURIZIO SORRONE.
Already in track 2, ”I don’t have the heart” we see – or rather hear – a massively welcome voice that returns: PATRIK AHLM! And who’s that, you may ask. Well, if I say PATRICK DE VEE, some of you will hear a bell ring, since he was the great lead vocalist in TIME GALLERY! And the voice is still there, in this good westcoast pop tune. The ballad ”Let you know” introduces Danish/American girl GABBY GORDON on lead vocals, proving the guys have found another perfect voice for the job.
So is this a pure westcoast album? Nope, there are a few AOR moments as well. However, those songs or parts work very fine with the rest of the songs. And westcoast is absolutely ruling this recording, where we get the ever lovely FRANK ÅDAHL in the LAVA & LITTLE RIVER BAND tinged ”Upside down”. Great stuff!
One cool thing is that alongside with the well-known names involved, there are some totally new artists that pop up and prove to be truly skilled musicians, like drummers MIKAEL WIKMAN and RASMUS KIHLBERG as well as bass players MICHAEL ENGSTRÖM and ADAM NITTI, vocalist ROBIN ÖHMAN and others too. Hopefully all these players and singers will be involved in similar recordings to follow.
So far this release is not out on CD, but it will be later in 2018. A Japanese CD deal is hopefully also on its way. This album is neatly put together, with a really good production and sound, fine harmony vocals and not a single filler. Just buy!