Reviews October/02

Street Talk / Restoration / MTM 0681-54


Street Talk - excellent Swedish AOR!! Tracklisting:Give me a Reason; Hare and Hounds; Language of Love; Tables turning; Dancer in the Rain; A Place in the Sun; My Heart beats for you; Forever by your side; In the Arms of Love; Why is my Heart feeling lonely tonight.

This is the - for me - long awaited third album from Fredrik Bergh and his "project" Street Talk. The first two titled "Collaboration" from 1996 and "Transition" from 2000 is AOR classics in the true sense of the word - they are smooth, well produced, melodic as hell and ....overseen. But let's hop that this "Restoration" will change that - this time Fredrik has MTM as new record label, maybe that fact can give the album a much better distribution and availability.
Street Talk has made use of the excellent vocalist GŲran Edman (Kharma, Yngwie, Glory and John Norum) before - but this time around keyboardist/songwriter Fredrik Bergh has made a scoop adding Hugo Valenti (HUGO, Valentine, Open Skyz) on two songs - the rest of the band is as follows: Sven Larsson from Madrigal on guitars, BjŲrn Lodmark on bass and Christian Johansson on drums. Additionally Tommy Denander plays a tasteful guitar on "My Heart beats for you" and "Why is my Heart....".
In the song writing department Fredrik Bergh has almost wrote all song on the album - but he got help from Kimmo Blom & Erkka Korhonen from Urban Tale on "Why is my Heart...." sung by Hugo and the busy Tommy Denander & Jim Jidhed wrote "In the Arms of love". All songs very tasteful, well balanced and top produced by Bergh himself - but all mid-tempo, semi-ballads with very few variations.
Taken one song at the time - this release is an absolute killer. There are a lot of "classics in spe" on this album - my favorites are hard to choose but I instantly fell for the slow "Tables turning" and the quicker (yup..) "A place in the Sun" and "Forever by your Side" - but also the two Hugo ballads "My Heart beats for you" and "Why is my Heart feeling lonely tonight" are great tracks, too.
All in all Fredrik Bergh and the rest of the guys involved with Street Talk deliver the expected good, well produced, easy-to-digest Scandic AOR with a touch of classic Journey and with the the significant fingerprint by Bergh's songwriting and keyboard playing - a must buy, and definitely one of the best AOR/MHR releases so far this year!

Hardline / II / Frontiers Records 109


Hardline - Back with style and impact! Tracklisting:Hold me down; Y; Paralyzed; Face the Night; Do or die; Hey Girl; Only a Night; Your Eyes; Weight; Way it is, way it goes; This Gift.

The two Gioeli brothers are back - under the moniker Hardline - but it is NOT an album that takes off where the classic "Double Eclipse" album ended back in 1992. 10 years has gone and the group has evolved. Vocalist Johnny Goeli has handled the vocals for Axel Rudi Pell and the back up players has changed to Josh Ramos (The Storm and Two Fires) on guitars, Bob Rock (nelson and Vinnie Vincent) on drums, Michael Ross on keyboards and Christopher Maloney on bass - but as some sort of present original guitarist Neal Schon plays on the song "The Gift" and on the song "Way it is, way it goes" we got a sense of what impact the short lived influence of guitarst Joey Taffola had on the band!
On the album the riffs are as big as ever, and the songs are all very catchy and driving and of course there are hard rockers - as well as thoughtful ballads. So it is not very hard for me to choose a battery of favorites among those tracks - it only depends on the mood. The slow and balladesque "Face the Night" caught my ears with the piano outro, but the virile "Your Eyes" is great for the car driving as well goes for "Way it is, way it goes" - but also the two old Brunette tracks "Do or die" and "Your Eyes" are great. The perfect closing track is of course the spheric "The Gift" - Mr. Gioeli sings his guts out on that track, and Neal Schon guitar is as great as ever!
I my humble opinion this is a very good hard rock album - definitely one of the best in years and Hardline can be very proud of the band and the album - BUT let's hope that the two Gioeli Brothers will make an album again in less than 10 years time!

Ronni Le TekrÝ / Extra strong string / ESMO 79


TNT guitarist finally released! Tracklisting:Shuffle off to Buffalo; Dig It; Half of the Time; A Song for while i'm away; Tracks in the Snow; I remember; Welcome to my Nigtmare; Spend the Night; Nobody loves an Iceberg; Can't stop falling; The Brooklyn Alphabet; Publicity.

Ronni Le TekrÝ is/was/now is again the guitarst from the most well known hard rock outfit from Norway the mighty TNT. This recording "Extra strong String" was originally recorded and released in 1999 - but only in Japan, I think.
A complete discography is nearly endless - but click here for a short info on TNT, Vagabond, Bad Habiz and solo work! On this European release there is one bonus track called "Publicity" - but otherwise this is very true towards the original release. Helping guitar ace Le TekrÝ on this participates well known friends like Morty Black on bass (TNT, Vagabond), Frode Lamoy on drums (TNT) and Dag Stokke on keyboards (TNT, Vagabond) - and helping out on the producers job and adding some guitar and bass is Ken Ingwersen from Street Legal.
There are a lot of guitar show off on the album - but always packed in with good, nice melodies - and Ronni sings on this album too and does it in an acceptable way! There are memorable tracks like the energetic opener "Shuffle off to Buffalo" - and like his whole career there are traditional hard rock like the old TNT days, the slightly more progressive inspiration like in the Vagabond days, to 70's inspired rock (like the Thin Lizzy cover band Bad Habiz) and instrumental work - like with his work with guitar colleague Rypdal. But the track that stands out is the cover of the Alice Cooper classic "Welcome to my Nightmare" - great performance!
In many ways I like to compare Le TekrÝ and his work with the Swedish 6 stringer Mathias Eklundh and his Freak Kitchen band - they both cover a wide musical spectrum and are able to put their magnificent unique style into melodic song writing - i'm impressed!

© Steen Peitersen 1999-2002