Review by Dave Crompton
Immediately after my first listen of this latest, well promoted Frontiers release, and knowing that there would be a good chance I’d be reviewing it, I decided I would have to build a sturdy fence on which to sit on.
Initially, yes, it appeared to be a highly polished album, beautiful sleeve art, and with an impressive, collaborative cast of well known AOR impresarios, both writing and performing the twelve songs on offer. How could it not live up to the pre-release hype? However, by the time I’d reached the halfway point I was getting quite inattentive and feeling somewhat disappointed. Was this simply a very average AOR-by-numbers offering? Surely not?
Sitting on the fence is, generally, not what I like to do, and I’m sure those of you reading this wouldn’t appreciate it either. So, undeterred I pressed play for the second time … and a third … and a fourth ….. EUREKA!
“The Road To Nowhere” begins the album in fine style, and completely justifies its status of first promotional track ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roZQaR0xOFY ). Find Me’s ( sorry guys, I still don’t like or understand the name. ) main players, Daniel Flores (Murder Of My Sweet) and Robbie La Blanc (Blanc Faces) are immediately at the forefront of this rather heavy AOR opener – the drums and keyboards of Mr Flores are rampant throughout, and La Blanc’s vocals are sublime. Even on my initial listen there was never any doubt about this song. “Another World” maintains the heavy, up-tempo pace, and has a great, yet short guitar solo mid song from resident guitarist Daniel Palmquist.
In my opinion, albums of this nature must have songs with uplifting choruses if they are to be successful, and more importantly, if they are to be embraced by the listener; “Dancing To A Broken Heartbeat” is a perfect example … simple yet addictive – and it’s no surprise that James and Tom Martin (Vega) are involved in the writing, along with Mikey Wilson and Isabell Oversveen (Issa)!! Surprisingly, Wings Of Love only boasts one ballad – “Eternally”. It is by no means a bad song, but it does appear to lack a passion and intensity of other ‘great‘ ballads past and present. I wonder if these shortcomings, which occasionally show themselves throughout the album, are due to the fact that this a manufactured project, and not a cohesive band who live and breathe each other’s talents?
Team Martin are again involved with “Firefight”, a short, punchy up-tempo song with a great chorus, and once more some impressive guitar work from Palmquist; “On The Outside” continues in a similar vein, with just enough variation to maintain interest. “One Soul” is dominated by a quintessential AOR riff, supported by swirling keys and another chorus that will eat into your brain. “Powerless” is yet again a product of Team Martin – whilst not as catchy as its predecessors, it has a commendable Vega-like punchiness to it.
I’ve already mentioned the importance of choruses, and “Bottom Of My Heart” is a great example of a fairly standard AOR song that is transformed and lifted by its great chorus. “Unbreakable” is my favourite track (at the time of writing), and it comes from the pen of man-of-the-moment Erik Martensson; a mid-tempo song sung with passion by La Blanc ….. surely a future fans favourite?!!
One thing that can’t be said about this album, is that it’s quality fades as it nears the end. The title track, “Wings Of Love”, is yet another Team Martin song, and is their most AOR sounding offering, beautifully carried by La Blanc’s vocals and the ever present keys of Flores. The final track, Your Lips, ends the album in some style and wouldn’t be out of place no matter where it was positioned on the album.
So, the moral of this review I suppose, is give this album a chance. Don’t, like I did, immediately condemn it as ‘just another AOR project‘ by a band of strangers assembled from across the globe. It might not have the longevity of the ‘classic’ AOR albums of the 80’s, but please give it a chance – Your patience WILL be rewarded.
The Road To Nowhere
Dancing To A Broken Heartbeat
On The Outside
Bottom Of Your Heart
Wings Of Love
Robbie La Blanc – Lead and all backing vocals
Daniel Flores – Drums and Keyboards
Daniel Palmquist – Rhythm Guitars
Jonny Trobro – Bass and Fretless Guitars
Guitar solos: Christopher Vetter (1b, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 11) Daniel Palmquist (7), David Sivelindt (1a, 4, 9, 12)
Keyboard solo: Daniel Flores (6), Rolf Pilotti (10)
“Wings of Love” is available on Frontiers Records now