Reviews January/04

Street Talk / Destination / MTM 0681-88


Street Talk - The best of ... and beyond! Tracklisting:Astray; Tables turning; Ye Gods and little Fishes; Dancer in the Rain; made for Paradise; Hare and Hounds; Need Someone; Language of Love; If you say it's over; Someday (I'll get over you); After the Tears; Walk away from Love; My Heart beats for you; Could you be the one; If anybody breaks your Heart; Standing in the Rain; Why is my Heart feeling lonely tonight; I'll always remember.

Street Talk is a AOR/MHR project fronted by the friendly Swede keyboardist and songwriter Fredrik Bergh and he has always had a special talent for writing hummable AOR-tunes and getting the right people to perform the tracks like Göran Edman and Hugo on vocals but also "the band" Sven Larsson on guitar, Tony Franklin and Björn Lodmark on the basses and Christian Johansson on drums. Street Talk was formed in late 1994 by keyboardist/vocalist/songwriter and producer Fredrik Bergh. The band was formed out of the ashes of the hardrock band Shape that Fredrik had formed in 1990 together with old friend and drummer Jon Persson along with two future members of the Swedish progressive hardrock act Tad Morose. In February 1996 Street Talk made the decision to record the first full length album "Collaboration" which did quite a stir in medias all around the world and showed up in top ten lists in many of the important rock magazines all over the world like Burrn!, Hard Roxx, Heavy oder was, Rock Report ... In January 2000 - after almost two years spent on preparations and pre-productions at Fredrik's and Sven Larsson's home studios (who played in Madrigal) the album "Transition" was released - also an album with quite a big fan base.
In 2002 Street Talk have finished the recordings of their most ambitious album "Restoration". The amazing leadvocal parts have been done by Hugo and Göran Edman and guested by a lot of well known artists from the Swedish "mafia" like former Alien singer Jim Jidhead, the AOR Hotshots Urban Tale and (of course) Tommy Denander. And to me this album still is a milestone in Scandinavian melodic rock
The current album "Destination" which is a Best Of ... marks the end of a chapter in the Street Talk history. Fredrik Bergh himself says "that it's uncertain if there will ever be a fourth Street Talk studio album...Only time will tell...".
"Destination" features two brand new bonus tracks with Göran Edman and legendary bassist Tony Franklin as well as two previously unreleased songs. And especially "Astray" is a real genuine Fredrik Bergh/Street Talk track with a light swift production and a hummable chorus - impressive. But also "Made for Paradise" has its moments like a great guitar solo, "After the Tears" is a slow instrumental ballad and so is "I'll always remember" but with a jazzy/funky twist to it!
Street Talk is definitely a band who had been very influental to the Scandinavian AOR scene the last 10 years - and hopefully we will have the possibillity to hear new stuff from Fredrik Bergh in the future. I'm sure that whatever he decides to do it will be essential - Street Talk has always been a 100% quality product with lots of soul & commitment going well along good production, great misicianship and impressive songwriting!

Erika / Cold winther Night / MTM Classix


Erika - Excellent Swedish melodic rock! Tracklisting:Prelude; Together we're lost; Line of Fire; Hurting so bad; Heavenly; Cold winther Night; Living like a Hurricane; Love in vain; Emergency; Lost Call for Love; Postlude; Super Sonic City (bonus track); Toghether we're lost (re-mixed extended version); Together we're lost (extended version).

One time Swedish AOR beauty Erika Norberg was married to guitar maestro Yngwie Malmsteen - that was THE single thing I knew about this blonde bombshell. But Erika's excellent light vocals and strong sense of melody is made for making excellent AOR/Hard rock albums in the vein of Lee Aaron and/or Envy. Malmsteen himself by the way appears on this album on the track "Emergency". The "Cold Winter Night" album originally released at the end of 1990 but for years later still voted one of the best Swedish rock album of the 90's. And now MTM has a plan for re-releasing it through their MTM Classix collection.
Hailing from Northern Sweden - Skellefteå to be precise, Erika originally recorded her first album for the small Lionheart label, distributed by Virgin in Scandinavia, and the album featured songs co-written by the singer with Swedish songwriters/producers/labelowners Bobby Ljunggreen and Håkan Almquist. The musicians on "Cold winter Night" are Benny Jansson on guitar who was involved with Talisman and Snake Charmer, Bobby Ljunggreen on guitars as well, Håkan Almquist on keyboards and drummers Johan Akerfeldt/Fredrik Lundfeldt - and not to forget Yngwie M. on track #9!
Later Erika recorded "In the Arms of a Stranger" in 1991, "Lady Luck" in 1993, "Planet X" in 1996 and "Ripe" 1998 - Erika officially ended her musical career in 1999 with a farewell tour!
The whole album, is filled with light, fluffy, sometimes grand hummable material, ballads and hard rockers in a perfect mix. Just the kind to expect from a Scandnavian artist - there are a whole bunch of songs ideal for a ride in an open car or for the shower for that matter. All very well produced, and some of the more memorable moments are mid temporocker and opener "Together we're lost" and ballad "Love in Vain". But also the Roxette-esque power popper "Super Sonic City" (originally from the "Planet X" album) is rather brilliant!
Apperently Erika was rather controvercial back then - but I can only speak for myself when I say that both her voice, songwriting talents and looks is remarkable!

Shiva / Desert Dreams / MTM 0681-89


Shiva - A Swedish dynamic duo! Tracklisting:Mystery of Mind; Desert Dreams; Unjustify the Truth; Completely Strangers; Losing my Child; Passengers of Live; Crucified; Porno Star; Dawning of a new Horizon; The Preacher.

Shiva is one of the most promising heavy rock/progressive bands, among others because of the outstanding rough female vocal performance of Anette Johansson. According to the following press marterial the previous self titled album achieved enthusiastic feedback from press and fans and reached # 7 in the german ROCK HARD soundcheck - which is incredible for a hard rock newcomer!
Shiva's two main members are Mats Edström on guitars, keyboards and background vocals and the before mentioned Anette Johansson on lead- and background vocals. While recording the two of them used some fellow musicians to fill in the drums and bass.
Mats began playing in bands when he was 15 years old, his first band being called Arrow (1984). The band opened for acts like Europe and Motöhead but broke up in 1989. Around that time Mats bought a music studio and was involved in different projects until 1992, before starting off a new band, called Yankee Heaven. Anette lives out in the bush with 12 Siberian Huskies! Next to music these sleddogs are a great passion of hers. Anette started singing at 16 and has been involved in a lot of different bands. With one of them, Angelez, she reached the finals of the "On Stage" competition in Stockholm, Sweden, where Anette got rewarded for outstanding singing. She joined Yankee Heaven when she was 18. The band did a lot of groovy and funny gigs like a Motor Costum Show and cool (literaly) show at a hockey match with a couple of thousand spectators.
The tracks is all performed with "an edge" - the metal guitars and large thought arrangements goes very well with the good melodies and the outstanding voice of Anette note the jazzy middle section followed by a SPLENDID short guitar solo. My favorite track is definitely the racy "Unjustify the Truth", it somehow sums up what Shiva is all about - power and musical performance par excellance with an attitude!

© Steen Peitersen 1999-2004