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Last Autumns Dream II Frontiers Records
FRCD226
Produced By: Ulf Wahlberg

Running Time: 52.07

Release Date: January 24

Released: EU

Musical Style: AOR

Links: Frontiers
79%
Songs: 70%
Sound: 80%
Last year's debut from Last Autumns Dream saw the pairing of Europe's backbone (Mic Michaeli, Jon Leven and Ian Haugland) with one of Sweden's great pop/rock vocalists Mikael Erlandsson and former Fair Warning guitarist Andy Malecek. Although it might have been better produced, the album was a fine slice of European melodic rock, leaning towards a heavier, darker approach for the usually pop friendly Erlandsson.
Unfortunately three lads returned to Europe for a new album and a tour, which left Erlandsson and Malecek without a band. In step the Talisman duo of Marcel Jacob (bass) and Jamie Borger (drums), plus Thomas Lassar (Crystal Blue) on keyboards to rescue the project.
LAD II does not suffer from the absence of the Europe guys, as the talent of Jacob, Borger and Lassar is well established. The album does however, suffer from a lack of quality songs. Sonically, the album is still lacking a crisp production the style has shifted here from the more dramatic debut to a somewhat simpler style here but the sound is still a little muddy in places, despite the rhythm section being better represented in the mix.
The songs are really the downfall of this album though to open with the limp ballad Brand New Life is the first mistake and the inclusion of a cover of the Zeno classic Heat Of Emotion is the second. Zeno's version bristled with energy and was a right 'over the top' anthem. This version has no energy at all, doesn't go near the peak of the original and features a horribly strained vocal from Erlandsson. In fact, Erlandsson sounds just a little hoarse on several tracks - raspier and rawer than the polished performance on the debut.
The album does have it's good points the smooth, emotional ballad So Much Love In The World is as classy as one could hope for, Helpless is good uptempo AOR, as is Up In Paradise, and the funkier This Gotta Be Love is a good tempo changer mid-album.
The Bottom Line
This will have to be for die-hard Erlandsson fans and established fans of the debut. For others it doesn't offer anything spectacular and goes backward from the benchmark established by the debut. AOR and melodic rock in general needs to keep moving forward and lifting the bar higher and higher. This release does not do that.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
Last Autumns Dream
II

Line Up
Mikael Erlandsson: Vocals
Andy Malecek: Guitar
Jamie Borger: Drums
Marcel Jacob: Bass
Thomas Lassar: Keyboards

Essential for fans of:
Last Autumns Dream
Track Listing
Brand New Life
Lost In You
Heat Of Emotion
So Much Love In The World*
Helpless*
This Gotta Be Love
Up In Paradise*
Over And Out
(Always Be) You And I
Running
Round And Round
Keep Falling
A Place to Hide In Town
--*Best Tracks



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