21 May 2012

Review: Sonic Station - Sonic Station

Sonic Station is the vision of Swedish guitarist, composer and producer Alexander Kronbrink. He wanted to make an 80’s AOR style album that would have influences of Toto, Mr. Mister, Journey and some West Coast-sound of Airplay, Michael McDonald and Marc Jordan.
There is a large cast of singers and musicians on Sonic Station. Featured on lead vocals: Marika Willstedt, Magnus Bäcklund, Kristoffer Fogelmark &  Tove Lo, guitars: Alexander Kronbrink, keyboards: Jonathan Fritzén, Marika Willstedt, David Larson & Alexander Kronbrink, bass: Henrik Linder, Johan Hansén-Larson, Erik Metall, Kristofer Sundström & Johan Ivansson, drums: Aron Mellergårdh, Thern Pettersson & Niklas Almgren, percussion: Andreas Ekstedt, backing vocals: Marika Willstedt, Kristoffer Fogelmark, Oskar Nilsson, Matilda Bådagård & Alexander Kronbrink, saxophone: Conny Lindgren, trumpet, Flugelhorn: Erik Palmberg

The pilgrimage back to the 80’s begins with an instrumental piece with the unlikely name, “Intro”. It’s an airy song with layers of synthesizers, echoed guitars and trumpet. It’s a nice lead-in to “Love’s Gonna Show the Way”, the catchiest song on the album. From the moment the almost acapella vocals come in you are hooked. I dare you to not sing along.

“You Have to let me go” is a composite of 80’s meets the present. Tove Lo’s raunchy vocals are the energy that really drives this song through the roof. Also, Kronbrink ushers in the return of the guitar solo.

What would an 80’s/West Coast album be without a ballad? “The Most Beautiful Fear” more than satisfies that need. It was an expansion of a chord progression that Kronbrink’s father (also a song writer) shared with him some years ago. This track also has over 20 tracks of percussion on it.

 “Never Let the Sunshine Die” is the perfect canvas for Kronbrink to paint his rainbow of guitar licks on. His guitar is literally wailing and weeping as he sets the stage for Kristoffer Fogelmark to take over. He sings about the sky crying out rain, mirroring the sentiment with his raspy vocals. The song ends with an equally impressive outro-solo.

The album Sonic Station is teeming with amazing guitar sounds and synth patches. Kronbrink set out to recapture the feel of the 80’s. He succeeds in giving us a glimpse into where that sound would have evolved to had it stayed in the mainstream. The 80s were about excess in everything including record production.  I hope this is the album that launches that sound back into the forefront.
4/5 Stars

Key Tracks:
Love's Gonna Show the Way, You Have to Let Me Go, The Most Beautiful Fear, Never Let the Sunshine Die

Kirk Bullough

1. Intro
2. Love's Gonna Show the Way
3. I Wish I Could Lie
4. Hold On to Me
5. You Have to Let Me Go
6. The Most Beautiful Fear
7. Running Through the Night
8. Never Let the Sunshine Die
9. My Last Refrain
10. Love You More
11. Reasons

Artist:  Sonic Station
Title:  Sonic Station
Genre: West Coast/ AOR
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Label:  Frontiers Records
Website: http://www.sonic-station.com/

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