Sweden continues to impress with its constant conveyer belt of classic rock, making my column seem increasingly Nordic focused. Earlier this year MetalTalk's Mark Taylor reviewed 'Address The Nation' by H.E.A.T, one of 2012s stand-out albums. Now, hot on its heels, comes the rather awkwardly named debut album from Wigelius, yet another young Swedish AOR sensation.
The band is built around singer Anders Wigelius, who came to prominence in a Swedish TV talent show singing – yes, you guessed it, Journey - which prompted producer Daniel Flores to sign him up.
Article continues below...
With all the usual influences in place, from Richard Marx through Toto, Journey, and Foreigner, Wigelius sounds very 1980s which, as with all AOR is a blessing and a curse. The fact it is a debut album however definitely allows for some leeway and although it's predictable throughout, there's enough here to suggest that the band has a bright future.
The twelve track album splits nicely into three quality groups: Good, OK and slightly lame. When it's good, it's great. 'Right Here, Right Now' has a fresh take on the classic AOR approach, bringing it bang up to date and it sounds fantastic. 'I Reach Out' is a guilty pleasure from the old school, while opener 'Angeline' has a heavy keyboard led approach, similar to any track by 'The Magnificent'.
Check out the video for 'Angeline' here:
My highlight though is the stripped down acoustic 'Love Can Be That Much'. Not necessarily because it's the best song on the album, but it's the one track that really seems to have its own identity and emphasises the tone and quality of Anders Wigelius' voice.
The rest of the album fails to set the world alight, with 'Do You Really Know' sounding like a poor Journey outtake and 'My Cassandra' showcasing some dodgy lyrics. 'Piece Of The Action' ticks all the worst AOR boxes and should really just be sent back to the era of Beverly Hills Cop and Top Gun.
Overall though this is a fun, easy going record, but it has had the misfortune to arrive in the aftermath of H.E.A.T's 'Address the Nation' which is a major contender for album of the year. Nevertheless, if you're a dedicated AOR fan and enjoyed last year's sublime 'The Magnificent', this is worth a listen. It's an accomplished debut and there's definitely some real talent on show. The challenge for Wigelius now is to carve out their own identity in this crowded market.
Anders Wigelius (Vocals)
Erik Wigelius (Drums)
Jake Svensson (Guitars)
Chris 'Wielbass' Pettersson (Bass)
Jonathan Churchill. MetalTalk.net
Follow me on Twitter: MetalTalk_1976