Released By : Nordic Records
Genre : West Coast AOR, Funk Rock
Links : http://www.janholberg.com/
01. Sense of Time
04. Heart of Summer
05. Wild Eyes
06. The Meadow
08. Vision of Lust
09. Come Rain Come Shine
10. Mother Nature
Don’t feel bad if you don’t recognize the name JAN HOLBERG, up until I heard about this release I had never heard of him either and couldn’t even find one person who had. Maybe if you’re of Finnish origin you may know of him as he is actually one of Finland’s most in demand session bass guitarists. As happens to a lot of the great session musos across the globe, eventually the bug bit and Jan decided that it was time record a proper album of his own. He set about gathering some of the best studio musicians he knew and started to record a handful of West Coast AOR inspired tunes and after one thing led to another Jan actually landed none other than the AOR master Joe Lynn Turner to lend his amazing vocal talents to the whole album, well minus the two instrumental tracks of course.
Obviously this will mean that that an album that may have otherwise been totally ignored will actually garner much interest from the AOR crowd, and seeing as though JLT is one of my personal favorite vocalists of all time, he is the reason that I was looking forward to this release so much. The songwriting on the album is actually very classy and treads waters between standard AOR, West Coast rock, funk rock, pop/rock and makes a few other step across the journey. The bass playing of Holberg is as expected very good, but in an interesting twist is never too prominent as to get in the way of a great, catchy song. While the overall style of this album may well be something a little different for Joe Lynn Turner, you can rest assured that brings his A-game here and in fact displays some of the best vocal work he has recorded in half a decade or so.
Opening track SENSE OF TIME is standard fare AOR tune, but Turner’s vocals take it to another level and it really is a great simplistic intro track that draws you in and slowly prepares you for what else will come. It doesn’t take long though for Holberg to take center-stage and second track MESMERIZED features some pretty awesome funk bass mixed in with some West Coast rock. SORRY sounds like a song custom made for Turner’s vocals and cruises along perfectly without ever getting to over the top. HEART OF SUMMER is a pure West-Coast AOR tune and reminds me of LITTLE RIVER BAND. WILD EYES is a twenty second intro track for the next tune THE MEADOW. Now this is an interesting track this one, it’s an instrumental tune complete with funk bass and a lead saxophone but to me it sounds like the kind of music that is played just after commercial breaks for daytime television chat shows like OPRAH, MAURY POVICH or ELLEN…. Don’t believe me, check it and see! While the song is clearly a great showcase for the musical abilities of the members of the project, it won’t really do anything for the AOR conglomerate. INVINCIBLE is another odd tune because we find Holberg jamming out on some FLEA like bass lines, mixed with the typical JLT vocal sound which sort of gives the impression of RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS mixed with BRAZEN ABBOT, something you have to hear to really understand what I’m saying I guess. VISION OF LUST is a late album track that takes things back to basics and is just simply a good AOR track with a great Turner vocal. COME RAIN COME SHINE reminds me a bit of Bobby Kimball era TOTO and is a nice highlight track to close out the Joe Lynn Turner contribution before the piano based instrumental closing track MOTHER NATURE, a piece of music that I found to actually be quite bland compared to the rest of the material and a bit of an unfortunate way to end an otherwise quite good album.
SENSE OF TIME is a pretty good start for Jan Holberg and is definitely a showcase for some great musicianship and also some very strong songwriting. However, I can’t help but feel that it’s really Joe Lynn Turner’s masterful vocal contribution that actually makes the album worth seeking out. Keep in mind also that for the time being the album will be released in Finland only meaning that import is the only for most people to get a copy.
Written By ZeeZee
Rating : 7/10