Wigelius – Tabula Rasa


by Brian McGowan

Release date : 15 Jan 2016


Swedish rock went into hiding when the barbarians stormed the gates at the start of the nineties. Only to reappear years later holding aloft the original Eighties’ AOR/Melodic Rock manuscript. It’s since been shared with a select many – Treat, Aces High, The Poodles, HEAT, Work Of Art and a host of others. And now, new kids on the block, the Wigelius brothers, have got their hands on it.  Yes, it’s music inspired by melodic rock’s commercial giants, but this album is a triumph of passion over pastiche. It’s naggingly familiar, but unlike many pretenders, whose copycat sound curdles with repeated listening, the Wigelius brothers’ second album, Tabula Rasa is unfailingly and relentlessly fresh and entertaining.

There are so many moments of creative brilliance… ‘Do It Again’s chanting, dancing-in-the-dust opening, ‘Deja Vu’s metronomic keyboard plink (you’ll have heard that before); ‘These Tears I Cry’s finely tuned, Mutt Lange like inflections and on and on. Few bands will have written so many songs that capture lightning in a bottle. And the music, so strong, so well crafted, more confident and elaborate than the debut, is raised up further by these punchy, inventive production touches, astutely arranged and deployed by Erik Wigelius himself.

Like HEAT and Max (Martin White/Karl Sandberg/It’s Alive) Martin, they know there’s a thin dividing line between AOR and infectious, chart straddling pop. The evidence is ‘Time Well Wasted’s pulse quickening hook and ‘Love Is The Key’s emotional pull… take a sturdy melody or a swirling pop chorus crescendo, and just add muscle.

Elsewhere, the tension never slackens. ‘Set Me Free’ and ‘Yesterday’s News’ have a smouldering, funk lite undercurrent that quickly erupts into full blown melodic rock. Big ballad, ‘My Cherie’, otherwise in danger of collapsing under a weight of lighter waving cliches, gets an unexpected lift from an expertly placed middle eight, and ‘Please Please Please’ (which seems to have been around forever) is transcendent, effortlessly creating a bridge between the past and the present.

So, we’ll forgive them an album title that’s been used by a couple of thousand bands over the years. If its suggestion of re-appraisal means that a constant flirtation with a 30 year old genre brings renewed vigour, then these guys have found the fount of eternal AOR youth.

9.5 out of 10wig


Track List

  1. Do It All Again
  2. Deja Vu
  3. These Tears I Cry
  4. Long Way From Home
  5. Set Me Free
  6. Yesterday’s News
  7. Time Well Wasted
  8. 9 out of 10
  9. Run With MeLove Is The Key
  10. Please please please
  11. My Cherie