Review: Sonic Station – Next Stop

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Record Info

Label: Avenue Of Allies
Producer: Alexander Kronbrink
Release date: Out now
Line-up: Alexander Kronbrink (gu, syn.), Jonathan Fritzén (key), Erik Metall (b), Thorleif Robertsson (dr), Johan Boding & Marika Willstedt (vo) + guests

Rating: 9/10
(10: A Master Piece / a future classic, 9: Superb, near perfect, 8: Great, 7: Very good, 6: Good, 5: Average)

Sonic Station is built around the very talented swedish guitarist Alexander Kronbrink and singer Marika Willstedt, the latter famous in Sweden for her participation in the long-running music-program Så skall det låta. They started out “for real” about 6-7 years ago with demosongs, then known as “Spirit”, but later changed to Sonic Station. On their first record, released back in 2012, there were 4 different singers, this time it’s “only” Marika and newcomer Johan Boding, Johan sings lead on 8 songs, Marika on 3. To have several singers on a record brings a kind of freshness to a record, some songs are more suited to a certain type of voice, therefor it’s a good thing. But to have 4 different singers, like it was on the first record were maybe one or two too many.

The first single from the record are the opener Amelia, a good song which reminds a lot of Work Of Art, which many song do. This isn’t a song I’d personally would’ve chosen to be the first single, although it’s good, it’s not one of the better songs in my ears. I might instead have chosen Catch Me If You Can, second song on the record, a really great song were Kronbrink shines on the guitarsolo. Next up is the first of three song sung by the beautiful voice of Marika Willstedt, the uptempo Brighter After Dark. The first ballad is Fool For Your Love, sung brilliantly by Johan Boding, a really emotional song. Time to raise the tempo again by Stopped Beating, a song with a quite phenomenal chorus, one of my 3 stand out tracks here. It turns a little slower again with Where Are You Now?, another Willstedt-song, and this one is superb, the best song which Willstedt are singing. Next up are the phenomenal Half Of My Heart, there are no words to describe this song, it has it all, the lyrics, the chorus, the guitarplaying, everything. Another of my 3 stand out tracks. Broken Man are another song that might have fitted better as the first single, a lyrically superb song. Now to the best song of the record… Love Clash is simply fantastic, I will kill to hear this song live. One of the songs of the year for me, pure brilliance on all levels. Just listen to the brilliant backing vocals, those details raise the songs to the skies. It seems that the record gets better throughout, which isn’t that often we hear. Last Goodbye are not far away from the top 3 on here, a song that would have fitted superbly on the last Street Talk-record, another song were Kronbrink shines with a fantastic guitarsolo, a pleasure to listen to this one too. Last song out are the also the last sung by Willstedt, Hide And Seek are a great ballad, sung with such a feeling.

The adding of Johan Boding were a crucial choice by Marika Willstedt and Alexander Kronbrink. Johan fits in more than well, he raises the level a couple of steps of his own. I simply love when a guy come from “nowhere” and sings like this, once again it proves that Sweden are one of THE leading countries in the business.

Sonic Station has stepped up a notch from the debute and turned a little “heavier”. From the almost pure westcoast debute to this AOR/Westcoast in the same vein as Work Of Art, Toto and Street Talk. An absolutely brilliant record, this WILL be on my top 10 this year, without a doubt. Now we only wait for some livedates…