Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Peter H. Nilsson Puts Together An AOR Classic With Little American Dream

Peter H. Nilsson is a guitarist and keyboard player from Gothenburg Sweden which is technically on the country's west coast. So maybe he's naturally inclined to understand and produce this old staple of American music.

His new album "Little American Dream" is produced to near perfection. The sound is a mix of west coast California style rock and what I like to call night time driving AOR. This is the stuff you crank as you make your way down the highway at 2 AM. The first track "You Better Run" is a hypnotic 7 minute guitar manifesto. Right away you get the sense that Nilsson is not the least bit concerned about playing it safe.

The next song is slightly more conventional. A mid tempo straight forward moody rocker called "Me And You" with a big "hey" chorus tucked into the storytelling. "Am I Dreaming" is another one of those late night driving songs. The lyrics are snapshots of places inside the dreams of a man seeking to find his destination.

Nilsson handles guitars and keyboards and has Chris Biano, a Nashville based singer, handling all the vocals. Chris has a pleasant sounding voice and Peter's guitar is prone to great solos. Rounding out the band are session drummer Jason Meekins from Austin Texas and bass player Patrik Andiels from Gothnurg Sweden. The album was mixed and mastered at Grammy award-winning studio, "The Panic Room" located in Skovde Sweden.

"Timeless" is the perfect next song as the same mood is kept alive with more dreamy lyrics about being lost in love. The song clocks in at over 5 minutes and contains a beautiful guitar solo. The title track to the album opens with a catchy keyboard riff which segues into a light funky groove infused with some great "oh-oh" choruses. The song's topic is an ode to the struggle for the "little American dream".

 "Haunted" perpetuates the night time driving groove with the perfect mix of guitars and keyboards. The hook in this track has a large payoff that will stick in your musical consciousness long after the song ends. A touch of Russ Ballard perhaps? Yes. "Love Is Worth Fighting For" opens with some large clean guitar and keyboard riffs. The song then settles into another hypnotic groove as the track builds musical momentum. This is another 6 plus minute dose of ear candy. "Rumours" is a slightly uptempo tune with more clean guitars and vocals. The hook is large enough to drive a truck through. There are touches of Corey Hart and Glass Tiger here.

The album's closing track, "Magic" completes 9 perfect innings of music. A tad more underground 80's rock sounding a la Charlie Sexton. But with a much more convincing hook and some fine guitar playing. Few albums have 9 songs that could all be released as singles. And the songs get better and better with repeat listens. You owe yourself to download this one. 5 out of 5 stars. Truly one of the finest releases of 2018.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Perfect View Hits A Perfect Melodic Note On "Timeless"

As the melodic rock industry here in the United States marches toward extinction, Europe continues to be the go-to region for this genre. Modena Italy is a place known for their Opera and their Lamborghinis. It's not the first place you'd look for a rock band. But this is the home of Perfect View. A group that has been together for close to a decade.

Their latest album is called "Timeless" and it is their best release of the three albums they've created so far. The quality of songwriting and production on this record is a step above their previous two albums on the now defunct Avenue of Allies record label. Lion's Pride Music is their new home and the new label has obviously inspired these Italians to reach deep into the melodic universe. The result is one of the strongest AOR records of 2018. The influences are numerous but are guiding forces rather than direct steering currents. There are bits and pieces of bands like Asia, Steelheart, Rush, Boston, Journey and Survivor. But the bulk of this work carves out it's own niche. Lead vocalist Marco Ciancio is an Olympic quality tenor whose voice effortlessly soars into the stratosphere.

The collection's first song "Stop Me, Kill Me, Leave Me" is a first class rocker with guitars and keyboards intertwining and creating a clean wall of sound for Ciancio to sing over. The lyrics are quick to draw your attention. "Can't Stop The Fire" showcases the smooth fret work of Francesco Cataldo. His guitar playing recalls Frankie Sullivan or Dan Huff. The song itself is a thing of beauty with it's memorable melody and chorus. "Shades of Us" is a choppy guitar riff rocker with a few twists and turns. Luca Ferraresi makes the drum kit look easy as he adds the right amount of power and precision to a very well oiled machine. Bassist Frank Paulis nicely compliments Ferraresi as the two make a fine rhythm section.

"Your Love Is Gone" is a classic power ballad with another truly convincing hook and chorus. The keyboards are manned by Marco Tedeschi who employs a rich, full palette of sounds. His presence on this album certainly helps deliver an 80's vibe.

"Timeless" has no filler tracks. Some of the other standouts include "No Regrets", "Fallin'", the keyboard laced "Promises", "Outlaw" and "Lorelai" (not the Styx tune). "Timeless" (the title track) is an amazing song which showcases the incredible vocal range of Ciancio.

All of these tracks have a hard rocking template and are infused with Ciancio's vocal gymnastics and Cataldo's masterful guitar work. There are 12 songs on this album and they are all worth listening to.

Typically I have to spend time with an album to understand it and really get into it. Not with this one. These are instant classics. Clearly there was a lot of work put into this. This band would have made waves here in the states years ago back when a support system existed. Nowadays we have to use articles like this one and our own curiosity to find the music we used to hear on the radio. Perfect View has created the perfect melodic rock release. 5 Stars.