Friday, 5 February 2016
NAKED – End Game (CD)
Swedish melodic rockers Naked released their quite anonymous debut in 2007. It was good, but didn’t hit me that hard. The line-up has now been reinforced by Alien guitarist Tony Borg and former Madison bassist Conny Payne. The band also features singer Peter Sundvall, keyboardist Mats Hedén, rhythm guitarist Mats Stattin and drummer Mikael Wikman. I’m not sure what has happened since the debut (which I obviously need to re-visit), but this feels like a completely transformed band. The opening track didn’t fully convince me at a first listen, as it felt a bit too traditional, but then something happened. First of all, I found little twists and turns I didn’t expect, then it got stuck in my head like a bee to flypaper. Then I discovered something else. This is actually a true AOR album, in the sense – Album Oriented Rock. This album needs to be consumed in its entirety. Every song is like a piece of the puzzle like the classic albums by Boston, Balance, LeRoux etc. Furthermore, killer tracks like Blood Of My Blood, Still In Love With You and Setting Sails may as well have been recorded by one of those late great classic pomp bands of the late 70s/early 80s classic and where Peter Sundvall reminds me quite a lot of Fergie Fredriksen during his time with one of my favorite pomp bands of that era – Trillion. Simply love his voice! The crisp and clear, but still full, production also bears resemblance with that era, but of course slightly upgraded. This album was a really nice surprise! One of the best pomp/AOR albums of 2015!