Angeline – Disconnected


Review by Brian McGowan

By definition, with their second release, Angeline lost the element of surprise. They caught me and many off guard with the debut, ‘Confessions’. Here was a band, formed in 1987, only releasing their first full length studio in 2011. Expectations were low.

I reviewed the album for the now defunct (not my fault, honest) webzine, “this Swedish band’s first full length studio album is just brimming over with abrasive melodic rock……these are battle hardened songs that come out of their corner punching hard.”

With ‘Disconnected’ the band again tip their hat to Def Leppard, Harem Scarem and others and the debut’s combative approach is again prevalent in the music. This time it’s heavier, harder, not quite so light on its feet, but still strong on melody and always looking to land the knockout blow with a sturdy hook.

Apart from the immense opener, ‘When The Lights go Down’, neither is it quite as accessible as ‘Confessions’, but it grows into an electrifying album, densely packed with massive riffs, songs with verses that sound like choruses and choruses that sound like anthems. The harmonies fit tightly into each chorus, occasionally employing the Mutt Lang trick of using bgvs as lead and vice versa.

Vocalist/Guitarist Jocke Nilsson also handles production, engineering and mixing duties. It sounds like he’s spent the GDP of a small South American country on it. Sonically and dynamically it’s as good an album as you’ll hear outside the major labels. The tracks just brim over with seismic rhythms, clearcut guitar figures and powerful vocals.

He keeps one eye on the road and one in the rear view mirror, skilfully combining melodic rock convention with tougher, harder edged contemporary rock stylings. ‘Found’ and ‘Solid Ground’ get that marriage just right…the number of influences they take in their stride is just breathtaking.

‘Falling Into You’ and ‘In Times Like These’ are angular, driving rockers. They reveal a grittier, more resilient shade of rock, fizzing with sparks, steam and kinetic energy, ready for combat. Melodic rock RPGs, looking for a target.Title track, ‘Disconnected’, is an undisguised salute to Bon Jovi, talkbox and all, even lifting a line of lyrics from ‘Livin On A Prayer’ for those in any doubt.

Album standout? It’s a close call. ‘Take A Little Time’ is a splendid slab of pumping, high octane melodic rock. It’s as much fist in the air exhortation as wise counsel. Whereas the balladic ‘If It’s The Last Thing I Do’ is a real eighties’ throwback, beautifully done, wringing the last ounce of pathos from a charmingly clichéd lyric.

If there’s a flaw with ‘Disconnected’ it’s this : it lacks the warmth of ‘Confessions’. Maybe Nillson was just trying too hard, though, that said, most of the time a heartfelt belief in the music shines through.

Works for me.