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Sonic Station - 'Next Stop'

posted 26 Jun 2014, 13:20 by Paul Woodward

(Avenue Of Allies)

Review By Woody

Guitarist and song writer Alexander Kronbrink is the main man behind Swedish AOR group Sonic Station and Next Stop is their second release which also sees them joining the Avenue of Allies record label roster. Their principal vocalist is Johan Boding but he also gets additional backing from Marika Willstedt who also gets to sing lead on a trio of songs. I’m not always a fan of albums which contain more than one principal vocalist as they can comes across as very disjointed or it badly affects the flow of the music, but with Sonic Station it does work and the contrast in vocals isn’t distracting but rather complimentary instead.

Boding has a warm soft vocal which at times evokes memories of Fergie Frederiksen and his voice lends itself perfectly to this style of soft rock. Willstedt has little more power to her voice but she also has that warm enveloping side too that really makes her contributions stand out but without feeling out of place in contrast to Boding’s songs. I’m really impressed with Willstedt’s vocals and I’d love to hear her do a rock album with her as principal vocalist.

I was a big fan of the band’s debut album but I think Next Stop is perhaps a little more consistent and I feel overall it is a stronger collection of songs. It’s a set of songs written in a specific style with no thought to modernise the sound, I find this truly refreshing as so many bands try to add heavier, alternative or modern slants to their sounds in an effort to make them more current and appeal to a wider audience. But sometimes this means they lose the magic behind the genre they are writing in – but Sonic Station stay true to their genre and Next Stop is deliciously pure AOR. It’s a cracking album and should have fans of Work of Art and Toto cranking this up in their cars and frequently unintentionally introducing fellow motorists and passersby to their ‘O’ face!

I love the atmospherics this album creates and it flows beautifully and I find myself frequently getting the songs stuck in my head especially tracks which seem less obvious on first listen. Kronbrink is a cool songwriter who knows how to plant those hooks nice and deep and he has created a wonderfully lavish and sweeping atmospheric opus. Next Stop is filled to the brim with warm encapsulating melodies, layered lush harmonies and unforgettable choruses that are a soft rockers wet dream. Now this is what I call summer music! Get the sun tan lotion on and the barbie going Next Stop will be your perfect accompaniment, just don’t worry about the neighbours catching you busting all your best moves over the fence!

Track Listing: Amelia / Catch Me If You Can / Brighter After Dark / Fool For Your Love / Stopped Beating / Where Are You Now / Half Of My Heart / Broken Man / Love Clash / Last Goodbye / Hide & Seek

Album Rating: 8/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Brighter After Dark