Wednesday, October 29, 2014

MOONLAND feat. Lenna Kuurmaa: ”s/t”

Rating: RRR

Label: Frontiers 2014
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Frontiers is at it again. Moonland is their latest ”project album”, this time featuring the former Vanilla Ninja singer Lenna Kuurmaa as the face and the voice of the project. The musical force behind this is Alessandro Del Vechhio, who has written most of the songs, produced the album and played the keys, some percussion and sung some backing vocals as well.

There are no real surprises when it comes to the music, this is well-excecuted AOR along the lines of Robin Beck and eighties’ Heart, maybe with some influences from the less symphonic side of Nightwish  and Within Temptation. Lenna signs beautifully but with a big of an edge, and Del Vecchio has created a warm and polished sound for the album.

Despite all of the above, I find it hard to really get excited over this album. Some of the album’s songs are pleasant enough, but ultimately a bit too bland for their own good. It’s just as if Del Vecchio and the other songwriters had been asked to write ”nice AOR songs”, when they should have been asked to come up with ”great AOR hits”! Or maybe they’re saving the hits for their own bands…

Luckily for Lenna, a few hits have found their way to the album anyway: the first single and video ”Heaven Is To Be Close To You” is first of them, despite its’ slightly clumsy lyrics. ”Open Your Heart” and ”Over Me” are the best midtempo AOR tracks on the album, but my biggest favorites are among the faster songs: ”Poison Angel”, ”Heart Made Of Steel” and especially the killer ”Cold As Ice”. The closing track ”Another Day In Paradise” is not a Phil Collins cover thankfully. It’s probably the album’s heaviest track and the biggest departure from the core AOR sound of the album. I don’t have the songwriting info, but everything about it screams ”Erik Mårtensson” of Eclipse/W.E.T. fame.

I don’t know if I’m being too critical since I do like most of the songs… if I were to use  ”half R’s”, this one might get that, but I’m sticking to the concept.

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