Reviews July/04

House of Mirrors / Nightflight to Paradise / ESM 102


House of Mirrors - the classic Scandi-sound revisited! Tracklisting:Intro; Spirit of Freedom; Glory Days; Heart is the Key; Deep inside; Top of the World; Deliverance; Alive; Long lost Love; Forever searching for my Soul; Nightflight to Paradise; Move on.

House of Mirrors belongs to the new generation of glorious torch carreers of the "traditional" Scandinavian melodic rock sound. This excellent five-piece hails from Finland and goes back to 1993 when vocalist Pekka Rautiainen met talented young guitarist Jaakko Niitemaa (I can't help but love these names!) but after a lot of line up changes and Pekka having a solo carreer as Julius they finally got a deal with Escape Music in 2003. And here we are with their debut album "Nightflight to Paradise" among us all. The line up is completed by Juha Paananen on the bass, Jimbo Mäkeläinen on drums and Jonne Valtonen on keys.
The authors of the following press material claim that "fans of Treat and classic Europe will love this" - and it's not that wrong! The album kicks off with the very melodic "Spirit of freedom" and from the first notes I'm feeling swept back to the haydays of the late 80's - a very melodic chorus with enchanting guitar riffs and an effective keyboard in the background. But it doesn't stop here, the following tracks maybe sound a bit more "dated" but they are powerful and very true to their roots. The band finds its good vibrations again on the grand balladesque "Deep inside" that sounds a bit west coast inpired in the way of handling the background choir and the beautiful guitar solo in the middle!! Highly recommended.
If you are - like me - addicted to THE Scandinavian sound you may consider House of Mirrors as a worthy contender to bands like Treat, Europe, Pretty Maids, Skagarack and TNT. If you don't believe me - just listen to the track "Top of the World"! Well, what did I say!?

Token / Punch / MTM 0681-103


Token - back with a Punch! Tracklisting:Punch in; Tear down the Wall; Free i'm gonna roll; Sometimes; Wake up; Falling; Dreaming; On the move; Save me; The Sin; Media Doll; Can't heal; Turn back the Time; Punch out; Tear down the Wall (video bounus track).

The swedish "super group" Token is back with a new album, a new sound and a couple of new members!
After the rather successfull album "Tomorrowland" back in 2002 guitarist Johan Sjöberg, keyboardplayer Mikael Rosengren and bassist Niclas Holmkvist has recruited a new vocalist Matthias Ahlén and a new drummer in Patrik Johansson. The term super group now fits the band more than ever - because now Token has former members from among others Yngwie Malmsteen, Scudiero, Damned Nation and Tommy Denander.
That was the band members - now the sound. Where the band has a very Scandinavian sound on their debut. I remember comparing them with Skagarack among others they now has a more international and modern "industrial" sound but still with a unique flair for melody and crystal clear production going hand in hand with excellent musicianship and singing. One of the first examples of this new sound is the outragious track "Sometimes" with its metallic guitars combined with a high pitched vocal and some great chorus work - simply great! And that feeling shines through tracks like my favorite "Falling", too where Ahléns voice reaches notes I can only recall in my imagination.
As a bonus gift there is a video included - "Tear down the Wall" in a very artistic black and white dark film noire! Great stuff and highly recommended as the classic Scandic sound taken to new peaks.

Y&T / Unearthed vol. 1 / CRIDE 60


Y&T - Unreleased recordings from 1974 through 2003! Tracklisting:Shout it out; Wild if I wanna; Standing in the Fire; In the Name of Love; Dirty Love; Play by Play; Short Arms; fast Track; Love gone wrong; 16 tons; I make believe; Hard Times; Driver; Give me rock; Shake down; Trigger happy; Rockazoid Rollaroid.

Dave Meneketti & Co. has been able to see through old moaning and fighting - and has made a triumphant return of the band Y&T with lots of successful concerts and now a combilation previously unreleased tracks way back from 1974!
Y&T these days are besides vocalist/guitarist Meneketti, Phil Kennemore (of course) on bass, Leonard Hayes on drums and John Nyman on guitar. Nyman replacing original rhythm guitarist Joey Alves, but has actually been a part of the writing team behind the band since the 1980's. But along the 17 great tracks spanning the period from 30 years ago you can also hear drummer Jimmy DeGrasso. And just for the record - Joey Alves is still on speaking terms with the rest of the band as he as all other members get to comment every song on the inner notes.
As I recall from my small collection of Y&T albums - "Earthshaker", "Contagious", "Ten" and "Musically Incorrect" the album very much follows the classic recipe of Meneketti's delicious riffs and hoarse voice. And with a certain flair for a good melody and the right mix of rockers and ballads - they were almost unbeatable - as they are now!
But besides all those Y&T standards there are a few surprises, like the last track "Rockazoid Rollaroid" taken from the groups first demo around 1974. Space rock died a quiet dead at the time - but Y&T obviously never got that message in time - but now it seems a lot of fun. A lot of fun is the more funky "Play by play" with a clear reference to bands like Tower of Power and/or Sly & The Family Stone. But don't stop until you've heard the track "Hard Times" originally on the "Ten" record - but here with a Hendrix kind of vibe - great!
I'm glad that bands like Y&T is still around and this record explains why...;) 30 years of good clean family entertainment and commitment to rock 'n' roll.

© Steen Peitersen 1999-2004