Tuesday, August 27, 2013

NIVA: "Magnitude"

Rating: RRRR
Label: AOR Heaven 2013
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Last year Swedish singer Tony Niva released an album under the band name of OXYGEN, and now he's back at it with NIVA. I guess he ran out of oxygen... to make things more confusing, I can tell you that the Oxygen album was actually released a year before in Japan as a Niva album.

I liked the Oxygen album but the lack of real killer songs meant that I haven't listened to it after having written the review. With new albums arriving on an almost daily basis, that's what happens to many albums which are just "good". "Magnitude" has already gotten more spins than its' predecessor, and I'm pretty sure that a song or two from this album will remain in my personal powerplay for quite some time.

Sometimes I wonder what it is that they put into the water in Sweden, because these Swedish songwriters just seem to come up with endless amounts of melodies and hooks. Is it some kind of Abbacteria? Whatever it is, Tony Niva and his collaborators Roger Ljunggren and Marcus Persson are seriously infected by it.

Compared to the Oxygen album, this one sounds a bit harder-edged, but at the same time the melodies are catchier. The spirit of ABBA is definitely alive in these songs. Just listen to "Always Somewhere" or "Do It Again" - if those aren't influenced by the songwriting of Björn and Benny, I don't know what is. The standout track of the album isn't one of the most Abbaesque songs though, it's the opening track "Never Too Late". It's just one of the most shamelessly, gloriously pompous and bombastic tracks I've heard lately, and the chorus is pure ear candy.

If this album doesn't reach a wider audience than the AOR community, I wouldn't be surprised if some of these songs ended up being re-recorded by other artists later on. There are some potential pop hits among them...

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