Sunday, February 24, 2013

W.E.T.: "Rise Up"

Rating: RRRR
Label: Frontiers 2013
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Ah, "The difficult second album"... after spending their formative years writing songs for the first album, most bands struggle coming up with material for the second effort. W.E.T. aren't exactly a typical band - the songs for the first album were written "on demand" from the label and I guess that goes for this second album too. Anyway, the first album was one of the highlights of 2009, so the guys must have felt some pressure to come up with a decent follow-up. You might think that four years is plenty of time to write a new album, but not in this case. The three core members Jeff Scott Soto, Erik Mårtensson and Robert Säll have been quite busy, I think they've written at least a half a dozen albums between them since the release of the first W.E.T. album! Especially Mårtensson has been delivering quality albums one after another - Toby Hitchcock, Eclipse, Jimi Jamison... but apparently the well hasn't run dry yet.

If you liked the first W.E.T. album, I don't think you'll be disappointed with this one either. It isn't quite as loaded with smash AOR hits and there are a few filler'ish tracks on it, but I guess it says something when even the weaker songs are at least "okay".

To quickly sum it up, when it comes to those smash hits, I'd say that there are two of those on this album. The first single "Learn To Live Again" is one of the best songs of 2013, and "What You Want" is only a step or two behind. Almost as good are the opener "Walk Away", "Shot" and "Still Unbroken", maybe even "On The Run". Surefire "Best Of W.E.T." material, all six of them. That leaves us with six other songs, which are all "okay" or better, but still... Maybe I'm greedy, but I was hoping for more. And to be honest, even though Mårtensson's well isn't dry, his trademark tricks are perhaps a little too evident on some of the songs. Still, easily one of the highlights of the year so far, and now that the band's been added to the Firefest line-up, I'm looking forward to hearing some of these songs live.

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