Review by Brian McGowan
Last Autumn’s Dream (LAD) have never been at the top of anyone’s favourite band list, but they’re on their tenth album now. One a year for 10 years. Big in Japan too. They must be doing something right.
Let me list the ways: First, four highly talented musicians, Mikael Erlandsson (I have to admit, a personal favourite), Andy (Fair Warning) Malacek, Jamie (Treat, Talisman) Borger and, ably replacing Marcel Jacob (RIP), Nahle Pahlsson. It’s a marriage made in AOR Heaven.
Okay. Second, there’s the song writing. Crowd pleasers all, none of this left field experimental stuff, or too heavy (or too light). They come worryingly close to pop some times, so they are accused. But what their songs are is accessible, commercial, ready to wear. Regular winners of the original old grey whistle test, hands down.
‘Ten Tangerine Tales’ (no, me neither) is their latest album and, not being one given to hyperbole, let’s just say it’s awesome.
Yet, you wouldn’t think so from the out-of-place instrumental opening piece, over in 15 seconds, quickly ceding ground to conventional opener, ’Picking Up The Pieces’, probably the album’s weakest track, strangely sequenced.
But among the next 9 tracks there are a handful of treasures that you’ll constantly welcome back like old friends. It takes enormous skill and invention to do that while avoiding the banality inherent in so much of today’s rock music.
The album is produced by drummer, Borger and veteran studio wizard, Ulf Wahlberg. These two guys pay the obsessive’s attention to fine textural detail, and nail every chorus to the melodic rock mast with carefully crafted hooks, some flamboyant, some subdued, but all built to hold on tight.
Highlights are aplenty. The gorgeous pop rush of ‘It’s Magic’; ‘Second Look’s and ’The Man I Used To Be’s strutting, swaggering, pop rock choruses and ‘New York Rain‘s climactic hook, cresting a swirling crescendo of melodicentric rock. Probably album standout.
Further on, the bittersweet , brittle fragility of ’I Will See You Thru’ is tested by wiry axe work, weaving in and out of tightly bunched angelic harmonies, and just when you think the catchy but repetitive ‘Lie To Me’ is outstaying its welcome, it morphs into an accidental, head turning tribute to Abba.
Appositely, the album closes with the sighingly romantic ‘My Final Love Song’. Surely the breeziest evocation of heartbreak ever recorded by a rock band.
As a piece of music, ‘Ten Tangerine Tales’ is not bold, nor original. What it is, is accomplished, beautifully written and performed, and full of songs that will echo in your head long after the last note has faded.
8 out of 10
Release date : 23 Jan 2013
- Ten Tangerine Tales
- Pickin´ Up The Pieces
- 2nd Look
- For You
- The Man I Used To Be
- I Will See You Thru
- When I Found You
- Lie To My Heart
- New York Rain
- It´s Magic
- My Final Love Song