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Articles Home » 2011 Articles » Alyson Avenue - 2011 Changes
Alyson Avenue - 2011 Changes

ARTIST: Alyson Avenue
ALBUM: Changes
LABEL: Avenue Of Allies
SERIAL: 11-11-0031
YEAR: 2011


LINEUP: Arabella Vitanc - vocals * Tony Rohtla - guitars * Niclas Olsson - keyboards * Thomas Loyska - bass * Fredrik Erikson - drums

Guests: Michael Bormann - vocals and background vocals on 'Will I Make Love' * Rob Marcello - guitar solo on 'Changes' * Fredrik Bergh - keyboards on 'Don't Know If Love Is Alive' * Anette Olzon, Chris Laney, Mike Andersson, Tommy Strohle - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Liar * 02 Will I Make Love * 03 Changes * 04 Amazing Days * 05 Don't Know If Love Is Alive * 06 Fallen * 07 Into The Fire * 08 I Will Be Waiting * 09 I'll Cry For You * 10 Somewhere * 11 Always Keep On Loving You



Back in the year 2000, this band pressed my dials big time with their debut album 'Presence Of Mind'. Fronted by Anette Blyckert (Olzon), who then went on to sing with Nightwish, this album was a favourite of mine, and it was due reward for the band who had been on the scene as far back as 1989. 2004 saw the release of 'Omega', a much harder/metallic effort than it's predecessor, and in my mind suffered as a result of the heavier guitar presence which seemed to dominate too much in the mix. The band kept in the background, Blyckert (as mentioned) went off to Nightwish in 2007 under the name Annete Olzon, and while Alyson Avenue toyed with the idea of bringing in a male singer as a change of direction, the idea was eventually scrapped, with new Swedish female singer Arabella Vitanc joining the ranks in 2009. The band now signed to Avenue Of Allies returned in 2011 with their third album 'Changes'. Continuing the AoA connection, Arabella can be heard singing on the recent Lionville project/album as well. Production is handled by Chris Laney, who gives this album a titanic boost. Niclas Olsson has gone on record as saying that the production on the previous two albums weren't quite up to par, but he's very happy with the way 'Changes' has turned out, a muscular combination of melodic hard rock and fluffy AOR.

The Songs
And has there been many changes? Well, a couple. There are three new members since 'Omega'. New guitarist Tony Rohlta, drummer Fredrik Erikson and of course Vitanc, who has a healthy and powerful set of pipes. Musically, 'Changes' is much more balanced than 'Omega', the guitar work melding nicely, while the keyboard work from Olsson is exceptional as always. There are a handful of well-credentialled guests who add their talent. The band set the scene with the robust 'Liar', which allows Vitanc to soar on the chorus, Rohlta's solo a tasty introduction to his guitar presence. 'Will I Make Love' might sound like the 64 thousand question, but with Jaded Heart's Michael Bormann adding his vocal prowess, this mid-paced melodic rocker sounds like it has all the answers. The title track 'Changes' is a guitar churner, with riffs firing out like an out-of-control gattling gun. Adding to the carnage, Danger Danger's Rob Marcello delivers a laser-beam like solo that melds precision and power. Great track. Niclas' pulses out some delightful keyboards on 'Amazing Days', sort of like a beefed up Roxette, it's followed by the mid-tempo ballad 'Don't Know If Love Is Alive', an exquisite track by anyone's definition which to me, sounds as if they've nicked the best parts of Beckett's 'Not A Day Goes By' (a Rick Price song I might add). 'Fallen' fuses the heavier side of the band's new found approach along with the AOR underbelly that defines AA. Pretty much enjoyed 'Into The Fire' too, a trademark female fronted track from the same lineage as Blonde On Blonde, Laos and Angela And The Rude. 'I'll Cry For You' takes its hint from Journey but it's the density of 'Somewhere' which surpasses that track with ease. The closer 'Always Keep On Loving You' ensures AA sign off with everything in order, a culmination of a very good album, and now that I've dragged it out of my 'awaiting review' queue, I feel justice has been served.

In Summary
Good to see Niclas and the team back in 2011. They do happen to take lengthy interludes between albums, and considering the band has been on/off now for the best part of three decades, any recorded music is better than none. Caught somewhere between their two previous albums, I think this one edges the debut due to the superior production, better song structures, the benefit of modern techniques and instruments, not forgetting the array of guest talent who turned up for a cup of tea and a minute or two in the sun. An underrated album don't let this one pass you by like it did me.

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#1 | gdazegod on November 17 2011 21:57:23
Tony Rohtla has now left AA, and is replaced by former Nasty Idols guitarist Michael Nilsson (a.k.a. Mikey). The band are rehearsing in preparation for gigs in early 2012.
#2 | jeffrey343 on June 02 2016 15:15:31
How the hell did I miss this five years ago? This is good! I follow enough people and pages on Facebook that inevitably some slightly older music gets shared, and I remembered hearing of these guys. Maybe this album wasn't available for streaming in 2011, and that's why I didn't give it a listen. It's out there now, as well as their first two. Granted, this isn't radically different than a fair amount of other female-fronted music from the recent years, but it is served up very nicely with plenty of catchy songs performed well. 2011 was a very good year, and this just adds to it.
#3 | Explorer on June 04 2016 00:47:01
Mickey Nilsson mentioned above is, I believe currently in the studio recording a new Sapphire Eyes album.
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