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Stage Dolls - 2010 Always

ARTIST: Stage Dolls
ALBUM: Always
LABEL: Sony Norway
SERIAL: 88697618122
YEAR: 2010


LINEUP: Torsten Flakne - guitars, vocals * Terje Storli - bass * Morten Skogstad - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Always * 02 Raining On A Summers Day * 03 Rollin' * 04 Highway's Open * 05 Eye Of My Heart * 06 Better Off Pretty * 07 Taillights * 08 Saturday Night * 09 Where The Blacktop Ends * 10 My Strangest Friend



Great to Norway's Stage Dolls back out there. It's been a few years since their halycon days, and even though they graced us with a couple of albums in the last decade, they are quick out of the blocks in 2010 with their newie 'Always'. To be honest, it's not the typical racy style of AOR that we're used to from Torsten and his team, in fact this is a very mellow affair, and when it does get slightly cranky, the sound moves into a semi-rural Bryan Adams type of sound.

The Songs
From the opening strands of the title track 'Always', it sounds as if the band have resumed transmission from a decade or two ago. Steaming guitar riffs and pulsing bass lines, as if it was 1987 all over again. However, the breeze changes direction for the subtle mid-west balladry of 'Rainin' On A Sunday Day'. This is the type of sound I can easily live with.. very nice. Another wind direction takes place with the sassy 'Rollin', a blues based affair with some female backing vocals for accompaniment. The open road melody of 'Highway's Open' is another winner, more mid-west styled warmth. The pick of the bunch for me is the delicious semi-ballad 'Eye Of My Heart'. Stage Dolls have done songs like this in the past, and this just reinforces why they have been favourites of mine for years. 'Better Off Pretty' equates quite nicely to the sort of material that Brett Walker is capable of, while the (excuse the pun) darker edges of 'Taillights' adds another dimension to the Stage Dolls sound. 'Saturday Night' could be a doppleganger of Bryan Adams 'Kids Wanna Rock', just different in the songtitle. The rural flavour of 'Where The Blacktop Ends' has a John Mellancamp earthiness about it, whereas the finale 'My Strangest Friend' has definite Peter Mayer qualities, the all acoustic affair with beautiful female backing vocals adds the icing on the cake.

In Summary
'Always' is a varied but laid back selection of songs. It doesn't have the dynamics of past albums, and I'm OK with that, because this is the sort of album I would expect from Torsten now that we are all a few years older. The acoustic elements work well, the sound is expansive - in much the same way as the plains of the mid-west are, or (more closer to home) as expansive as the red center of Australia. A nice treat of an album which I will go back to regularly during the year.

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#1 | Kick on April 02 2010 17:02:50
Those raspy vocals are very good, the sounding of this album is very good. Minor point: only 37 minutes. Most songs typical Stage Dolls; commercial, lite-aor with indeed Bryan Adams -influences. Weak song: Rollin. Average: Saturday Night and Rainy on a sunny day. Very good: Always, Highway's open, Taillights, Where the blacktop ends and the very Eagles My strangest friend. Best on offer: Eye of my heart and Better of Pretty. Not so good as the fabulous Get a life, but I enjoy this one.
#2 | Jez on May 05 2010 11:17:40
This is a pretty damned good record and pretty much what was expected to be honest, especially tracks 1-6 which are all good, 'Rainin' On A Summers Day' and the brilliant 'Eye Of My Heart' which are my 'top tips'. It does fall off a little towards the end with 'Saturday Night' which is a bit of a Bryan Adams 'Kids Wanna Rock' wannabe (which was by far the worst track on the brilliant 'Reckless' album) and the new country'ish 'Where The Blacktop Ends' which is ok, but not a great track. So for me, I make it 8 out of 10 good songs and a great little album (only 40 odd minutes), killer sound/production too I must add. I would rank this sort of in the middle of the Stage Dolls catologue, ie not as good as the S/T or 'Get A Life', but better than 'Dig', 'Stripped' with the best moments on par with some of 'Soldiers Gun' and 'Commandos.

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