|Last Autumns Dream II||Frontiers Records|
Last year's debut from Last Autumns Dream saw the pairing of Europe's backbone (Mic Michaeli, Jon Leven and Ian Haugland) with one of Sweden's great pop/rock vocalists Mikael Erlandsson and former Fair Warning guitarist Andy Malecek. Although it might have been better produced, the album was a fine slice of European melodic rock, leaning towards a heavier, darker approach for the usually pop friendly Erlandsson.|
Unfortunately three lads returned to Europe for a new album and a tour, which left Erlandsson and Malecek without a band. In step the Talisman duo of Marcel Jacob (bass) and Jamie Borger (drums), plus Thomas Lassar (Crystal Blue) on keyboards to rescue the project.
LAD II does not suffer from the absence of the Europe guys, as the talent of Jacob, Borger and Lassar is well established. The album does however, suffer from a lack of quality songs. Sonically, the album is still lacking a crisp production – the style has shifted here from the more dramatic debut to a somewhat simpler style here – but the sound is still a little muddy in places, despite the rhythm section being better represented in the mix.
The songs are really the downfall of this album though – to open with the limp ballad Brand New Life is the first mistake and the inclusion of a cover of the Zeno classic Heat Of Emotion is the second. Zeno's version bristled with energy and was a right 'over the top' anthem. This version has no energy at all, doesn't go near the peak of the original and features a horribly strained vocal from Erlandsson. In fact, Erlandsson sounds just a little hoarse on several tracks - raspier and rawer than the polished performance on the debut.
The album does have it's good points – the smooth, emotional ballad So Much Love In The World is as classy as one could hope for, Helpless is good uptempo AOR, as is Up In Paradise, and the funkier This Gotta Be Love is a good tempo changer mid-album.
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