Monday, December 30, 2013

ANGELICA: ”Thrive”

Rating: RRRR
Label: Frontiers 2013
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Not to be confused with 80'ies Christian hard rock band by the same name, Angelica (last name: Rylin) is a Swedish singer best known as the vocalist of The Murder Of My Sweet. "Thrive" is her first solo album and it's a departure from TMOMS's sound. We're dealing with modern-meets-vintage AOR here. Heart, Robin Beck and Romeo's Daughter are mentioned as major influences is the press release, spiced up with producer Daniel Flores' modern touches. The concept is pretty similar to that of Issa's albums on the same label, and indeed some of these songs sound like they could have been written for her.

Angelica is a fine singer and over the weeks I've been listening to this, I've grown to like these songs a lot. Initially I liked it, but wasn't totally blown away, but I have to say "Thrive" has become one of my favourite albums of the year. If you've only heard the first single/video "Breaking My Heart" you do not have the whole picture. It's a good song but nowhere near the best one of the album. There are several songs which are more cleverly written. "I Am Strong", "To Your Rescue" and "You Will Never Win" may not revolutionize the art of writing AOR songs but they do have more twists and turns that the average Journey ripoff songs so common in the genre. Other songs I want to mention are the fine ballads "Can't Stop Love", "Losers In Paradise" and the closing number "Take Me To Your Heart", which has a very cool and surprising pre-chorus. If only the chorus had been as good. It's nice, but somehow it just screams "eurovision pop"!

There really isn't a weak song on the album, so this is pretty close to a perfect 5R rating. Some of the choruses are a bit too predictable for their own good, hence it's only a very strong RRRR.

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