Tuesday, August 16, 2011

WORK OF ART: "In Progress"

Rating: 8/10

Label: Frontiers 2011

Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Work-o-fart?? It's clearly a windy and smelly sort of business? Huh, what? Work Of Art - ehem, right, the moniker fits like a glove and if "In Progress" came out back in the days, it would probably have been hailed as a small masterpiece of poppy melodic rock aka AOR with plenty of westcoast influences. These days, it's like if major record labels are afraid to support any quality album since it would only make their other releases look bad in comparison. Ehem, and don't give me the old "it sounds too much like the eighties" b.s. A quick glance at the Pop albums as of lately and you'll quickly notice that most acts are heavily inspired and influenced by the eighties.

Hailed as the new Swedish wonder of Toto-like melodies, these guys are certainly capable of mixing catchy and smooth compositions with keyboards, grand-piano and excellent vocals by Lars Säfsund. They play the sort of music that's mellower than a hippie on holiday down in Caribbean and it's clearly not every man's poison. "Eye Of The Storm" has more in common with Signal and their one and only album or Mark Free's 'Long Way From Love' than Toto, but I guess it'll attract the same kind of music lovers after all. "Until You Believe" is moodier and more towards the style of Steve Perry/Journey and their approach to semi-ballads, well, at least until the chorus part.

"The Great Fall" is another fine example of top-notch AOR and the same could be said about "Call On Me". But again, don't expect this to be all about "Toto" as these tracks are really more about the first Bad Habit and Big Money vs. classy U.S. AOR of the late eighties. "Fall Down" and "One Step Away" on the other hand - definitely in the vein of Toto and you'll get plenty of these moments as well as "In Progress" literlly reeks of professional arrangements and several layers of instrumentation. Final verdict: perhaps just a bit too safe and predictable at times but you simply can't go wrong here if you're a soft-rock fan. Recommended.



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