Last Autumn's Dream
Last Autumn's Dream
Last Autumn's Dream is the interesting combination of Swedish AOR singer Mikael Erlandsson with former Fair Warning guitarist Andy Malecek. Providing the backbone of the band and this album is the popular session trio of Ian Haughland, Mic Micaeli and John Levin – all of Europe fame.|
It was the idea of Erlandsson's Japanese label that he record a harder rock album and Frontiers Records have smartly picked this up for Europe.
LAD is an overall solid album – even better being that it's a debut. It's nice to see Malecek back in business after his other Fair Warning buddies surfaced in Dreamtide.
Erlandsson is a classy singer who is capable of adapting to different situations. His earlier work was pure Westcoast/AOR, while earlier this year he delivered a wonderful album of modern pop/AOR. His voice is ideally suited for what Last Autumn's Dream is all about.
As expected the album mixes influences from all those involved, with some of Erlandsson's fine melodic flare – especially in the delivery of his vocals – evident, as is some of the guitar driven pomp of Fair Warning and the power rhythm of Europe.
Essentially, LAD is a collection of powerful European styled melodic hard rock tunes with a strong melodic base. The powerful trio of Levin, Micaeli and Haughland provide their usual highest quality performance and give a real edge to the material.
Track By Track:
Again and Again opens the album with in the exact fashion and with the required gusto one hopes for. The uptempo keyboard/guitar filled rocker sets the album up nicely with some powerful vocals and a great hook filled chorus.
Doin' Time is an exclusive bonus track for Europe. It's a nice addition, but I'm not sure it fits the flow of the album at track two. It's more reminiscent of Erlandsson solo and might have been better towards the end of the album. Still, it's a mid-tempo 80's style AOR track with another great chorus hook.
Guardian Angel is the first big ballad of the album. It features a lush arrangement that highlights the power of Erlandsson's voice before building into a big sing-along anthem.
Break The Chains (Of Destiny) features a lengthy guitar intro before rocking to life as one of the album's best tracks. This is what I would have liked to have heard a little more of. This track really rocks and the raspier, edgier vocals really suit the music.
Blink Of An Eye is a breezy, feel good melodic rock track that's quite the opposite of the more it's more intense predecessor.
Talk To Me ups the intensity again, with a good powerful mid-tempo rocker with another very strong chorus.
The One is a soft, sentimental ballad that fans of solo Erlandsson will enjoy. Solid, but not as good as earlier tracks.
I Never Let You Go is another album highlight. And no surprise, it's another darker, moodier rock track with a gritty and powerful chorus.
High Up rocks as hard as Break The Chains and features more strong vocals and a tough hard edged guitar riff come chorus time.
Movin' On is another breezy mid-tempo pop number that again reminds me of the solo style of singer Mikael Erlandsson.
Going Home is a rocked up mid-tempo ballad to farewell the album. Pretty much typical European melodic hard rock with a sentimental twist here – nothing new, but enjoyable nevertheless.
There are a couple of small issues the album has that seem fair to raise. Firstly, Erlandsson sounds fabulous when he is pushing his voice with the harder edge delivery required by this project. But it could have been pushed even further. The best tracks here are the darker, heavier ones.
And secondly, the production could have been a little sharper in places. It's solid, but not as clear nor as crisp as it could be on a few tracks. It's only really noticeable as there is so many things going on within the music. Minor point.
Those two things aside, it's still a fine slice of melodic music and will be rated highly by fans of those involved.
The songwriting is high quality, even if it's nothing unexpected. What the band does is set things up nicely. Now it would be great to see them go on and do another album, but with a mind to making it even more intense and classy, like this album is in places.
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