Released by: Frontiers Records
Release Date: August 25th, 2023
Genre: Melodic Rock
Johannes Häger – Lead vocals, guitars
Filip Stenlund – Guitars
John Svensson – Keys
Johan Tjernström – Bass
Erik Nilsson – Drums
1. Hit the Ground
2. Chutes and Ladders
4. Love Riot
6. Caught Up in a Dream
8. Fire Burnin’
10. Words for Mending Hearts
11. Malibu Pier
“You don’t know STREETLIGHT? Rest assured, neither did I until recently! It was when I heard their first single that I became interested in this group, thinking that it was worth keeping an eye on and that I might have a pleasant surprise, who knows? The young history of the band tells that the singer and guitarist sent a demo of one of their songs to Arnel PINEDA, the singer of JOURNEY, a band they were big fans of. He liked the song, even though it wasn’t selected. They went the independent route and released it themselves. Several labels showed interest, but they naturally chose to go with Frontiers Music. While this is their debut album, the band members have already played in various formations, including Ole BÖRUD and NARNIA, which, for me, is a mark of quality.
I would like to point out in this preamble that AOR (Adult Oriented Rock) is not as monolithic as some tend to believe. Yes, the formulaic approach tends to wear thin on some, but some bands do it right and welcome the heavier form of Hard Rock such as Degreed, Art Nation or H.E.A.T. etc. You also have bands more oriented towards melody-driven AOR, the others dabble in more traditional AOR sound. Yes, the spectrum is quite wide for those who are willing to take the time to listen.
STREETLIGHT falls more into the category of the latter groups, with polished AOR that primarily seeks melody, supported by a lot of harmonies! In the end, seeing so much diversity reassures me about the future of this music! Maybe…
The first two tracks of the album are the two singles released, it can’t get any simpler! “Hit The Ground,” the first one, is the one that immediately hooked me. It’s an engaging mid-tempo track, and Johannes HÄGER’s voice immediately appealed to me. The harmonies are more than present, and the counterpoint is provided by the drummer, resulting in a magnificent outcome. It’s brilliant AOR, with a well-placed guitar solo. I note that keyboards take precedence over guitars on this album. “Stay” leans more towards the Swedish melodic Hard Rock standards. Yes, H.E.A.T. is not far off on this track. “Love Riot” raises the stakes with a drum-driven tempo and guitars that become more aggressive, more rock, with even a blazing guitar solo.
We calm down with “Closer,” a pure AOR track. It’s a chromed mid-tempo delight. The wonderfully sung melody is a true pleasure that takes me to the West Coast days. You have to listen to the care given to the vocal lines and harmonies. Nice crisp guitar solo to please the audience. The bass and drum-led ending of the song is gentle and airy, and the crystalline guitar is a small marvel. It’s a real treat and, for me, my favorite track on the album. The distorted guitar sound at the beginning of “Awake” is really interesting. It’s melodic Hard Rock loaded with harmonies!
As often happens with a debut album, musicians showcase the extent of their talents with the risk of spreading themselves too thin, and STREETLIGHT is no exception. Is eclecticism an asset or a drawback? In any case, it allows for a broad spectrum. It would just be, in my opinion, that the guitars should be more present. It’s a solid start for the newcomers.
Written by: Shadow Editor