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Articles Home » 2006 Articles » Deacon Street - 2006 II
Deacon Street - 2006 II

ARTIST: Deacon Street
SERIAL: 0681-164
YEAR: 2006


LINEUP: Peter Sundell, Thomas Vikstrom, Johan Fahlberg, Andreas Novak, Chris Antblad, Stan Bush, Geir Ronning - vocals * Tommy Denander, Reb Beach, Jeff Watson, Marty Friedman, Steve Morse, Christopher Cross, Bobby Messano, Bill Leverty, Bruce Gaitsch - guitars * Al V. Dohn, Tony Franklin - bass * Pat Thern, Vinny Heter, Daniel Flores, Walter Diego - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Beautiful Chardaine * 02 Leann * 03 When Love Is On The Line * 04 Save Me * 05 I Give This Promise * 06 Now We Cry For You * 07 Second Comings * 08 Kill Us On Another Day * 09 The Promise Of Forever *10 Misery * 11 Action * 12 Easy As It Seems * 13 Them Changes * 14 Jason


Deacon Street first appeared in 2004. It was an outlet for Swedish guitarist/producer Tommy Denander and songwriting partner Chris Demming to offload some of their material under this project name. We reviewed that first album, and were impressed with the quality, considering the duo thought they were more or less 'offcuts'. Well, two years on, the songwriting quality continues, but the duo have cut ties with previous label AOR Heaven (who have gone down the metal route) and have signed on with MTM Music who are carrying the melodic hard rock/AOR load admirably. The line-up of singers that Tommy and Chris have assembled is fantastic.. really it is. So too are the guitarists, though it must be said most contribute their parts to the last instrumental track 'Jason' in a free-for-all session of guitar solos. With the constant interchange of singers, the album could've suffered from that oft-said phrase 'identity crisis' but remarkably it doesn't. That's probably due to the tight musical exchange between Denander, Dohn, Thern and Heter, all having played together on many sessions, and giving each of the successive songs some familiar structure.

The Songs
The album opens up with Peter Sundell's velvet touch on 'Beautiful Chardaine'. Known for his super high vocal range with the defunct band Grand Illusion, Peter sings within his bounds and his control is effortless on this lovely tune. A cool trance like intro sets the stage for 'Leann', the spiky modern keyboards and hard driving Toto like arrangement is an interesting merger. 'When Love Is On The Line' harks back to Denander's recent Radioactive material which would've been difficult to avoid on any normal day but the track is carried off by Jaded Heart singer Johan Falberg. Great chorus too. Modern keyboards lead the way again on 'Save Me', the song is a typical Denander/Demming arrangement that is as strong as ever. The ever familiar vocal style of Stan Bush is present on 'Now We Cry For You', a smooth track topped off a stinging Denander solo. 'Second Comings' is a pleasant rollicking bluesy romp featuring Minds Eye singer Andreas Novak. However, I wasn't sure what to make of '(Kill Us) On Another Day'. It seems to be stuck in the no-mans land of cross-genres. Part metal, part hard rock.. a bit of everything really. Novak returns to front up on 'Misery'. Quite like this actually, and though the lyrics and verses might have a dark edge, the chorus is bright sounding. Even the solo parts are uplifting. Strange huh? Two covers get the treatment here. The Sweet's 'Action' following in the footsteps of Def Leppard (Retro-Active) and a KISS track 'Easy As It Seems' with the unusual selection of talented Norwegian Geir Ronning on vocals. 'Action' is great stuff but not utterly convinced by 'Easy As It Seems', despite its harder rockin' than usual approach.

The two tracks at the end of the album are instrumentals, so amp-heads are gonna love both 'Them Changes' which has a jazz-rock fusion/blues inclination, while the All Star solo's exercise 'Jason' (dedicated to fellow guitarist, the incapacitated Jason Becker) sees a veritable who's who of axe-heroes lining up to trade licks. Perhaps the two 'odd-man out' songs are the pairing of 'I Give This Promise' and 'The Promise Of Forever', both sung by Spin Gallery singer Chris Antblad. Both are lush ballads in the vein of Savage Garden and Westlife. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion, despite some recent reviews/opinions saying otherwise. 'I Give This Promise' is heartfelt to a tee, but hearing him singing 'The Promise Of Forever' reminded me of that track 'Amazed' by American country rockers Lonestar. The vocal choruses might touch on pop territory as per those two aforementioned acts, but I gotta admit, this truly is a beautiful song. A great song for radio I believe.

In Summary
Deacon Street 'II' probably has one or two tracks too many by my count. The two covers don't really add value while the two instrumentals are good but are they totally necessary on an album that is principally song/lyric bound? Some might say that seven singers is a bit of overkill for an album like this, and they might be right, but as Tommy would say, it depends on the quality and structure of the song, and who best to sing it - and if he has singers of this quality at his disposal, then why not? If anything has been discovered about this album, perhaps writing more material for Chris Antblad might be good spin-off. And talking of 'spin', maybe even a new Spin Gallery CD? Overall, 'II' is a good album, with a point or two being docked for musical excesses perhaps.. Lol

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#1 | Jez on June 16 2008 03:56:44
I thought the first Deacon Street disc was pretty good, but this goes Way beyond that one on all counts. Firstly,the songs are much stronger & secondly the production sounds a lot better. Stylewise, the material is nice & varied throughout from the typical Tommy Denander stuff, to a couple of excellent Poppy ballads ('I Give This Promise' especially) sung by Spin Gallery's Christian Antblad & a guitar burn out feat. amongst others, Jeff Watson, Marty Friedman,Reb Beach & Steve Morse. Great album
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