Words: Craig Hartranft
I'm not sure how the band name came about. Maybe the founders, Peter Sundvall (v) and Mats Stattin (rg), were naked together in a Swedish hot tub bobbing for sausages. There's an image you don't want to keep in your mind for too long. But, seriously, Naked is a promising AOR melodic hard rock made up of veterans of the Swedish music scene. Having roots as deep as 2000, the band finally delivers their debut album, End Game.
This is as solid AOR melodic hard rock you'll find anywhere. It will remind you of the Eighties, like a mash up of Toto, Journey, and Sweden's own Treat. The curious thing that I found in the first, and second, spin is that vocalist Peter Sundvall sounds like a girl. I'm not kidding. So much so that I can't shake the feeling even after knowing he's not. There's something distinctly effeminate about his style. That aside, Sundvall has a terrific voice: clean, clear, and quite melodic. And Naked, as a band, works hard at creating good vocal arrangements.
After these things, every song is packed with solid melodies and groove, with catchy hooks in both arrangements and lyrics. Veteran Tony Borg, from Alien, adds copious amounts of harmonious riffs, energetic solos, and organizes the keyboard embellishment, which is mostly unobtrusive, more like atmosphere. When these elements come together at their best, Naked delivers some AOR radio-friendly monsters like Aim For The Heart, Leaving You Tonight, the super catchy Still In Love With You, or the West Coast flavor of Love Ain't No Game.
Alternatively, some songs can rock a little harder, almost with a slight metal edge, like Silverthorn or The Great War, with it's rousing riffs and quick pace. The latter is also a song where the keyboards are a bit more present, notably just after the middle part. All in all, while not reinventing the wheel or doing anything inherently novel, Naked's End Game is spot on AOR melodic hard rock and will easily please fans of the same. Recommended.
All in all, while not reinventing the wheel or doing anything inherently novel, Naked's End Game is spot on AOR melodic hard rock and will easily please fans of the same. Recommended.
This experience deserves mention for one very good reason: Finland's One Desire is one of the best classic AOR melodic hard rock bands in the genre and, perhaps, the world, right now So, I also apologize, in ... [ Read More ]