Wednesday, January 20, 2016

NAKED: ”End Game”

Rating: RRR
Label: Escape Music 2015
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Not to be confused with the Finnish sleaze/glam band, this particular Naked hails from Sweden. Vocalist Peter Sundvall and guitarist Mats Stattin are the founding members, with Mikael Wikman on drums and Tony Berg of Alien taking care of production and lead guitar. Paul Logue of Eden’s Curse plays the bass on the album.

”End Game” that could have been marketed as an ”undiscovered gem” from 1985, and most of us would have bought the story. Fortunately the most plastic production elements of the year are nowhere to be heard, but I can’t deny that there’s something very ”vintage” in the overall sound. Compared to most modern day AOR albums, this sounds less pristine but warmer and more ”human”, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The songs range from the Kansas-like opener ”Silverthorn” to the hard-edged AOR of ”Destination Unknown”, which sounds a lot like Last Autumn’s Dream at their heaviest.  Vocalist Peter Sundvall sounds uncannily like Mikael Erlandsson on this one.

My favorites include the two aforementioned tracks and ”Aim For The Heart” which reminds me of obscure eighties bands like Legs Diamond and Aviator. On the second half of the album there are a few songs which do not appeal to me at all, hence only three R’s… it was a close call though.

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