Friday, February 22, 2013

DIAMOND DAWN : "Overdrive"

Rating: RRRR
Label: Frontiers 2013
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Pop quizz: name a young Swedish 6-piece AOR group with a vocalist who has a Woody Woodpecker haircut? No! Not that one! I'n talking about Diamond Dawn! Yeah, there are some similarities with the other b.a.n.d., but that doesn't mean that Diamond Dawn's first album isn't worth of checking out. They might not be on the same level as their rivals yet, but give 'em a couple of years...

The band's strongest songs have been placed early in the tracklisting. The first four tracks are arguably the band's finest ones so far. The title track starts the engine, a keyboard-driven track that reminds me of Bad Habit and Autograph - definitely "summertime AOR" that brings some sunshine into these dark days of winter. The first single and video "Take Me Higher" might be familiar to some of you already, it's a strong track with some great ingredients: a pumping bassline, stabbing keyboards and fine melodies. I wasn't sure about the understated chorus at first, but having listened to it more, I've grown to like it a lot. Sometimes it pays to do things a little differently. Never mind the "higher-fire" rhyming! "Cryin'" is another fine melodic rocker with plenty of nice keyboard work courtesy of Niklas Arkbro, while "Standing As One" is an anthemic AOR track with a big chorus.

The rest of the album isn't quite as good, although there are some songs that I want to mention... "Indestructible" sounds like Work Of Art in... well, overdrive and despite an unhealthy amount of "desire-higher-fire" rhymes it works quite well. "Turn It Up" has probably the silliest chorus of the album which doesn't work for me at all. "Give It All" is a good uptempo number, although the chorus might be too sugary for some. The band's obligatory ballad "Don't Walk Away" is nice, but as predictable as the title suggests. "Powergames" sounds like it just escaped from Europe's "Out Of This World" album, which is probably a recommendation of the highest order to some. I'll just add that it might have escaped to search for a better chorus for itself...

Okay, this review turned out a bit strange but you'll get the idea I guess. Diamond Dawn aren't certainly offering us anything particulary new, but at their best they put a new flavour to their brand of AOR. That's enough for me.

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