Track Listing
Starship of Giants (3)
Hello Light
Houdini's Eyes
Still Strong (2)
Son of a Gun
Open Your Heart (1)
Captain of Clouds
Don't You Know
Beggar And Thief
The Morning Smoke

(*) Best Tracks

Discography & (Rank)
Urban Tale (1)
Signs Of Times (2)

Buy it if you liked:
Urban Tale
Steve Perry - For The Love Of Strange Medicine, Street Talk
Journey - Raised On Radio
Signs Of Times
Frontiers Records FRCD138
Produced By: Anders Theander
Running Time: 50.28 Release Date: January 27
Released: EU Genre: AOR
WebLink: Urban Tale LabelLink: Frontiers

Urban Tale released one of the breakout albums of 2000 and certainly one of the best AOR debut's in the time that I have run this site.
They have crafted their own unique sound, yet are familiar enough to be able to relate them to other high profile artists and above all else, we able to manage a major label production quality for their album. Individual elements are always possible, yet the combination is rare. To have such a quality album is another plus for this scene and will only help enhance it's reputation. regardless of style, more like that are needed.
So with their second, eagerly anticipated album, have the guys managed to pull all the needed elements together again? No doubt about it - yes.
There are a couple of changes. While the sound of the debut - a hybrid, European style, high-tech mix of Journey and Styx - is certainly in place, as is the once again excellent production/mix; the style is a little diversified.
Signs Of Times sees the guys branching out a little, toughening their sound a little - with a more direct role placed in the hands of guitarist Erkka Korhonen.
While this is still 100% European AOR, this is a more adventurous album - darker and more progressive - with tracks like Captain Of Clouds, Houdini's Eyes and Beggar And Theif most amply highlighting this twist. There are also a few extra production effects adding depth to the music, that on the debut, was consistently soft, high-tech AOR.
The guys will increase their fanbase on the back of this release.
Those wanting instant gratification can tune into songs like Son Of A Gun and Open Your Heart. These are fabulous uptempo AOR tracks with instant choruses that die hards will eat up.
And you can't go past the band's big ballad of this album, Still Strong. Again, it's not as instant as the debut's One Day (I'll Make You Mine)(which should have been a worldwide #1 smash), but it has major charm and will be prominent in melodic friendly bedroom's all over the world. I'm still totally blown away by vocalist Kimmo Blom. His fabulous Steve Perry / Tommy Shaw style vocals rule this record and like the songs, show increased maturity and diversity. Just check out the closing vocal/piano ballad Mary.

The Bottom Line
For those that loved the debut, this will sit alongside that easily. There are not enough changes to alienate anyone, merely enhance the band's sound and ensure that they are not standing still, but rather developing and furthering the AOR/melodic rock cause.
Urban Tale are as smooth as a baby's bum. But they are no longer soft AOR. They are a great melodic rock act that deserve an increased following and all the accolades that will come their way.
Almost as good as the fabulous debut - which believe me, was always going to be a tough call. That album remains a nose in front due to it's uniqueness and special place in my personal favourites.
2003 is off to a flying start.

Line Up
Kimmo Blom: Vocals
Erkka Korhonen: Guitar
Timo Pudas: Piano, Keyboards
Kari Valimaki: Drums
Tuomo Kovalainen: Bass

Additional Ratings

AOR Heaven NEH Records Z-Roxx Loud 1 Destiny Hot Tracks Target Wishing Well Loud Metal Perris

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