|Work Of Art Artwork||Frontiers Records|
What an absolute treat it is to be able to review two outstanding AOR albums at the same time, despite both having different approaches and different appeal.|
The bind between them is that in this modern world dominated by melodic metal and often sub-par sounding AOR releases, they are neither.
Both Khymera and Work Of Art are pure AOR of the highest quality with great production to back them up.
In the case of Work Of Art, you have a young Swedish band who worships at the House Of Lukather and all things Toto.
And as much as Toto is a clear influence in their music – don't think they are a one trick pony or a clone of that classic band.
But for that matter – if it is done well, then what does it matter anyway?
Work Of Art's debut album is simply stunning. Filled with glorious pure AOR mixed with touches of breezy high-tech Westcoast and influenced by one the very best band's in the business, it overflows with harmonies, melodies and above all, a killer production that could have seen this band on a major label back in the day.
The mix offers the many layers of vocals, keyboards, harmonies and guitars plenty of room to breathe, while the silky smooth vocals of Lars Safsund glide over the top.
Lars is quite something – I love this guy's voice. Mixing the best of Toto's Joseph Williams with Signal era Mark Free, every note sung contains melody.
The production is fantastic – big beats and a driving rhythm that give even the softer tracks added power. And I really like that many of the tracks are quite uptempo, moving the album along at great pace.
Style wise the album takes the best AOR moments of Signal's classic Loud & Clear and mixes those with the many facets of Toto – the straight ahead keyboard AOR of Seventh One and Isolation and the breezy Westcoast of Fahrenheit and Seventh One again.
The music within is that kind that offers a new hook and melody with every track.
The opening track sums up the whole album. Fast paced and immediate, filled with soaring vocals and swirling keyboards, it is one of my favourite tracks in recent memory.
Maria brings the Toto comparisons to the forefront and again on the Seventh One styled percussion, keyboards and Lukatheresque guitar work of Camelia.
And so it continues…Her Only Lie has a great chorus and driving beat; Too Late is classic Williams era Toto; Whenever You Sleep is 80s AOR overdrive; and Once In A Lifetime is a perfect Scandi AOR ballad a la Radioactive/Tommy Denander.
Elsewhere on the album Peace Of Mind is again another stand out AOR song; and Cover Me is fabulous – the heaviest track of the album – it has an appealing darker and more dramatic flair.
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