Album Reviews

Heartbreak Radio – On Air Review

Heartbreak Radio - On Air cover

Released by: AOR Heaven

Release Date: February 22nd, 2013

Genre: AOR/Westcoast

Links: http://www.facebook.com/HeartbreakRadio

 

Line Up:

Drums: Peter Strandberg

Bass: Berra Holmgren

Guitars: Mats Johanson

Keyboards: Johan Axelsson

Horns: Albin Grahn (trumpet), Arvid Ingberg (trombone), Martin Svanström (tenor saxophone)

Tenor & Alto saxophone solos: Wojtek Goral

 

Featured vocalists:

Jim Jidhed (ALIEN), Mikael Erlandsson (LAST AUTUMN’S DREAM), Pierre Weinsberg (ELEVENER, RADIOACTIVE), Henrik Baath (DARK WATER) and Martin Gabriel (solo).

 

Tracklist:

1. Love On Fire

2. Angelina

3. You Are Love

4. Turn On Love

5. I Will Love You

6. Live Out Of Love

7. All Over The World

8. My Heart’s Just Missing You

9. Keep Kickin’ It Back

10. You Don’t Love Me Anymore

 

A spin off project of popular AOR band Last Autumn’s Dream, Heartbreak Radio aim to please AOR and Westcoast fans everywhere by bringing in a little early 80’s L.A. popcraft to the typical FM rock approach, complete with sax and groovy ballads straight out of a Doobie Brothers jam session. The jazziness and progressive overtones associated with Ambrosia and Toto are toned down in favor of radio friendliness, but that’s the key appeal to this genre among aficionados anyway….and some of this stuff is pretty damn catchy, truth be told.

While the group’s 2005 self-titled was an infectious little sucker of an AOR record in, led mostly by Pierre Weisnberg (ELEVENER) on the vocal front and featuring numerous guitar contributions from the ever prolific Tommy Denander, On Air outclasses the debut by leaps and bounds, due in no small part to a much larger cast of vocalists and brassy instrumental flavorings. And, if anything, the songwriting is better than before: ‘You Are Love’ is a mid tempo monster with a killer bridge that instantly brings to mind aural images of AIRPLAY or DAVID ROBERTS, with a velveteen hook to boot! And of course it hard to escape the early 80’s ‘Frontiers’ era of JOURNEY with ripping cuts like ‘Love On Fire’ and ‘Live Out Of Love’: these two numbers alone could have sold out arenas once upon a time, with the latter revolving around a nifty guitar motif that would make NEAL SCHON green with envy!

My favorite song off the album though, funnily enough, is the ballad that closes out the LP: ‘You Don’t Love Me Anymore’. It features the surprisingly rich and fully measured vocal work of HENRIK BAATH, lead singer for Swedish progressive metal stalwarts DARK WATER, and he knocks this 6 and a half minute masterpiece out of the park! A jazzy piano solo about midway through the song adds a certain atmospheric quality not present in the previous lineup of songs, complete with some acoustic guitar trading licks off with it into a silence that marks the end of the song cycle. It’s a beautiful song too – perhaps one of the best of its kind I’ve had the pleasure to experience.

Fans of old school early 80’s AOR with a touch of L.A. Westcoast in the slower numbers should keep their eyes peeled as we head off into 2013: if albums like this are of any indication, then we have a magnificent year ahead of us!

 

Written by Derek

Ratings    Derek    8/10

 

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