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Work Of Art Artwork Frontiers Records
FRCD364
· Produced By: Lars Safsund

· Running Time: 53.50

· Release Date: February 22

· Released:

· Musical Style: AOR / Westcoast

· Links: Frontiers
94%
Songs: 95%
Sound: 94%
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.
The Bottom Line
An outstanding debut by any definition. The fact that it delivers some outstanding songs and soaring melodies in a style that has been short on classic releases of late is even better. Yes, once again it has that very familiar feel as the album follows an already well trodden path, but it is done so well. This is one for AOR fans, Westcoast fans, 80s fans and of course – Toto fans! Well done boys.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Artwork

Line Up:
· Lars Safsund: Vocals, Keyboards
· Robert Sall: Guitars
· Herman Furin: Drums
· Guest: Andreas Olsson: Bass

Essential For Fans Of:
· Toto
· Joseph Williams
· Scandi AOR
Track Listing
· Why Do I? *
· Maria *
· Camelia *
· Her Only Lie *
· Too Late
· Whenever U Sleep *
· Once In A Lifetime *
· Peace Of Mind
· Lost Without Your Love
· Like No Other
· Cover Me *
· One Hour

--*Best Tracks


02/12/09: DJ - drhall01@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
Work Of Art is just that........Excellent AOR Release

23/10/09: Rian - edguyrocks@yahoo.com
Rating: 98
Man this album has so many catchy hooks I can't stop listening to it!

25/09/09: Stormbringer - brotherant@live.co.uk
Rating: 100
It's extremely rare these days for me to find an album that I find as exciting to listen to today as I did several months ago when I first heard it.

This album is one of those rarities.

The album is a melodic rock/AOR masterpiece, it really is that good. Style wise the band clearly lends an affectionate ear towards Toto but there are any number of influences spread across the album. Don't be mislead into thinking it's all light and fluffy though, there is some pretty chunky riffage and heavy drums in amongst the keyboards and layered background vocals. The musicianship is superb.

The songs are top quality and the greatest compliment I can give this album is that there isn't a standout track, they are all good! I play this album from beginning to end without ever thinking of skipping a track.

This is, for me, simply the best album I've heard in easily the past five years. It is as close to a perfect album as you can get.

For a debut album it is astonishingly good and I for one can't wait for album No.2

11/01/09: 19Hoss70 - Hollismccall@charter.net
Rating: 100
One of my favorite albums. Can't stop coming back to this on my ipod. Not a bad song at all on the album. Can't wait to hear more. Hope more music from them comes soon.

19/06/08: Metallic Blue - petermay@adam.com
Rating: 97
AOR of the highest imaginable standards.Very Totoesque sounding affair,think "Isolation" and "The Seventh One".Their main influence is TOTO obviously, but I can also hear elements of bands like SIGNAL and WHITE SISTER too,this guy is MARK FREE and DENNIS CHURCHILL rolled into one.This up to now is the best AOR album in 2008 so far along with the H.E.A.T cd. Just listen to "Once in a Lifetime"! Absolutely Brilliant! There are some real Gems on here, such as 'Her Only Lie', 'Cover Me',the very Toto 'Camelia' and of course the Superb 'Why Do I?', but if you count out 'Too Late',every single track is finely crafted.Congrats must go to the'WORK OF ART'guys,for a great westcoast AOR album!!A must buy!!

09/06/08: Tom - tom.timmermans@flexsys.com
Rating: 99
Do they sound like late 80s Toto? Yes. Do I care? No!

I just loved Toto's Falling In Between, but this album just blows it out of the water!

Very upbeat, 80s AOR that's just classic! Yeah, there's Toto, but I hear bits of Mr Mister and Foreigner too. Sunny weather, driving in my car and this album in my car stereo and the world's a beautiful place! Just feelgood music that makes your heart beat faster.

I know this is saying a lot, but THIS is the kind of album I've been hoping to come out since '92.

It gives me hope that in these days of blingy hip-hop, whiney pop-punk and downtuned nu-metal there's still GOOD MUSIC like this being released.

28/05/08: Richard Hall - drhall01@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
Very Totoesque sounding affair , think "Isolation" and "The Seventh One" , mix in a bit of Signal's mid tempo offerings on "Loud & Clear" and that will pretty much sum out what you have on this project.It's great stuff,very nostalgic and pure ear candy for those with a jones for 80's sounding AOR

28/05/08: Axe-Machine - lisvanepanthers@yahoo.co.uk
Rating: 93
Superlative melodic rock with more than just a dash of Toto in the mix. This is, for me, the best pure AOR album of the year so far.

13/05/08: Mats - matsbruer@hotmail.com
Rating: 98
Alongside the new Whitesnake album , well go buy it , best album to come out of Sweden in a long long time.

04/04/08: Sava - svemirski_modulator@yahoo.com
Rating: 83
Very good for debut.

04/04/08: Tim Dombrowski - timmy5ton@gmail.com
Rating: 0
Work of Art has many positives, good vocals, some nice choruses and the production sounds clean, I found myself enjoying this disc in moderation for a couple listens, then realized it would become a bit laborious to continue, a keyboard driven album, which helps produce clean production,also tends to under-deliver the power of the songs contained here, a very good idea overall and definantly worth a follow up disc.

04/04/08: Matt - tribunalrecords@aol.com
Rating: 95
This album is pure gold. Like Andrew said if you are into middle era Toto then just go buy it. Every song on it is a hit single, if there were a market still for AOR bands on the radio, that is. I haven't been able to stop listening to it since i bought it, and i feel bad that i have been neglecting other purchases i made at the same tine, but who doesn't enjoy singing along to great new stuff! i certainly do. ALSO: since he probably won't post the album for comments...GO BUY...Rock Candy's reissue of Michael Bolton's "Everybody's Crazy" album. That is another fantastic slab of 80s AOR...no joke. Just buy it you will not be disappointed.

04/04/08: gavin archer - gavhelmoon@aol.com
Rating: 100
yee hah now we're talkin', as plenty of others i'd heard the good hype surrounding these guys and the 1 minute snippetts sounded great so i pre ordered the album and when it arrived it was in the player immediately and for once the hype was spot on this is proper aor especially if your a fan of isolation and fahrenheit era toto theres just not enough quality aor like this recorded these days its a shame.
almost every track is a surefire winner, great vocals at times reminiscent of mark free/joseph williams and at times fergie frederiksen, great musicianship, and great songwriting no weak links really.
listen guys beg, borrow or even steal the cash for this little gem you really wont be dissapointed.
in my mind only the stage dolls have captured the american sound as well as these guys in europe.
mecca and jimi jamison have a major contender for aor release of 2008 but at least this year does look good.
work of art, well its in the name isnt it!

04/04/08: jari - jari_heikkinen@luukku.com
Rating: 98
someone said that this is the best toto record toto never recorded,i totally agree.first six songs are just fantastic,then the quality little drops.afterall allmost perfect.

03/04/08: Andy Hawes - a.hawes617@btinternet.com
Rating: 98
Remember how you felt the first time you heard the debut album by Drive She Said, or Last of the Runaways by Giant? Or maybe Aviator's classic album? Remember that surge within your heart and soul that accompanied each new chorus, each new hookline? Remember how you played some tracks over & over again even though the others were so good too?

Well, that's how I felt when I first heard this fantastic Work of Art album. It's been a long time since I felt that 'rush' with an album. I've come close to it over the past 15 years, but never like this!

Basically, this album reminds me why I love AOR. The first 4 tracks are absolutely killer. 'Why Do I' is the best opener I've heard in ages, but is eclipsed by the monumental majesty of 'Her Only Lie' which just blows me away every time! 'Maria' and 'Camelia' take us back in time to Toto circa 1987 (a recurring theme throughout the album, actually. Some folk have been quite negative about that, but I see it as a strength...)

The rest of the album continues in the same vein - monstrous feel-good AOR - until we hit track 11, 'Cover Me' which has a dinstinctly darker, more 'modern rock' vibe but still manages to remian cohesive wihin the album as a whole and, in fact, has become one of my favourite tracks. Also, the final track, 'One Hour' continues the darker theme with some heavier guitar sounds.

There isn't a weak track on this CD. Also, the individual members all do their job exceptionally well. There have been a few whinges on various forums about the guitarist 'not being as good as Steve Lukather!!' Well...DUH....is ANYBODY as good as Luke??!!! To my ears, Robert Sall's guitar work on this CD is bang-on exactly what the music needs. I hear a little of Luke's phrasing in his playing (actually, more in the rhythm work than the lead), but he also does the Dann Huff-style tapping licks very nicely as well AND he knows his way around a melody!! The vocals also need a mention too as Lars Safsund has proved himself to be a killer AOR voice.

Production-wise, the album sounds immense!! It is very clean and clear and suitably smooth. Exactly what this type of music should sound like!!!

This CD arrived in my house at the same time as the new Khymera (which is also a blinder) and this one is getting most of the airtime on my stereo. That alone should tell you how good it is!!

As close to 'perfection' as you are going to get in the AOR world today, I reckon!!!!


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