Monday, August 18, 2014
STATE OF SALAZAR: "All The Way"
Label: Frontiers 2014
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Sweet and fluffy melodies with a distinctive old school AOR sound (Toto, Survivor) meets Sweden and Scandi(navian) Rock. I can't put my finger on why I enjoy this CD as much as I do? It must be the pure innocence of the band and their close to naive but catchy compositions? State Of Salazar recorded the independent 7-track EP a couple of years ago and caused quite the wave. I haven't been listening to those tracks, however, I notice that all of their West Coast and "Chicago" influenced numbers are gone (there's hardly any horns nor jazz to be found on this platter) and instead you'll end up just around the corner of Street Talk, Work Of Art, and merely the hint of Bad Habit.
It's definitely soft keyboard-infused melodies (nearly the 60/40 mix of AOR and West Coast) and you just know the silly amount of crap these poor bastards has to put up with from other musicians in the land of Vikings. Markus Nilsson (A.C.T, Andromeda, Royal Republic) is the co-producer, recording, and mixing engineer and it's a pretty flawless but at times sterile production.
From the word go, it's vintage stuff and keyboardist Stefan Mårtenson tickle the ebony/ivory as they did in the early 80's when AOR still came out sounding Pomp(ish) and slightly Symphonic (prior to the more basic U.S. AOR keyboard work of the late 80s). Have a listen to "Catastrophe" for some excellent and outrageous keyboard work. "Eat Your Heart Out", Toto right down to their shoe-laces and there's no doubt whatsoever about their main influence and inspiration. "I Believe In You", "Marie" and the mixed messages of "Adrian" (or is it supposed to be Adrianne?) are songs to play loud in the background while watching old re-runs of Miami Vice. Don't forget your mint-green blazers.
Vocalist Marcus Nygren, the Joey Tempest of the band as he's responsible for all songs, fake tan, as well as being the douche? Nah. No idea really. He's neither the Tempest sound alike for that matter. Final verdict: Are you really supposed to play this kind of music as the Swedish act in the year of 2014? F**k the music police! Don't let anyone else decide what you can and can't enjoy. I need my yearly dose of this as well as I need my Prog, Punk, Thrash, Soul, Art-Rock, R&B, Funk, Metal, etc. etc. Kindly stand back - it's a Wimp-lash!!