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Articles Home » 2012 Articles » Sapphire Eyes - 2012 Sapphire Eyes
Sapphire Eyes - 2012 Sapphire Eyes

ARTIST: Sapphire Eyes
ALBUM: Sapphire Eyes
LABEL: Avenue Of Allies
SERIAL: 12 09 0047
YEAR: 2012
SPONSOR: Gregor Klee


LINEUP: Thomas Bursell - lead and backing vocals * Niclas Olsson - keyboards, backing vocals, drums 'Only Feel Love'

Guests: Mikael Erlandsson - lead vocals 'You're My Wings', 'Can't Find The Words' * Mike Andersson - lead vocals 'A Man The World Can Do Without' * Anette Olzon - lead vocals 'This Love This Time', backing vocals * Arabella Vitanc - backing vocals * Emil Knabe, Sven Larsson, Mikey K Nilsson, Rik Priem, Christofer Dhalman - guitars * Thomas Loyska, Goran Forssen, Mats Stahl - bass * Fransesco Jovino - drums * Anders Theander - loops, percussion, FX

TRACK LISTING: 01 You're My Wings * 02 I Want You To See Me * 03 Only Feel Love * 04 This Love This Time * 05 Change Of Heart * 06 Can't Find The Words * 07 When Love Comes Alive * 08 A Man The World Can Do Without * 09 Someone Like You * 10 Lay Down In My Arms


The two main blokes in this new Swedish project Sapphire Eyes are better known from their time with AORsters Alyson Avenue and Second Heat respectively. It is with those two bands that much of the style and ideas have been formulated. The guest list is impressive, with participants drawn from other Swedish outfits such as Lover Under Cover (Mikael Erlandsson), Cloudscape (Mike Andersson), Street Talk (Sven Larsson), the two ladies from Alyson Avenue in Anette Olzon and Arabella Vitanc and Rik Priem from Belgians Frozen Rain among others. From a production point of view, this is a combined effort with Niclas producing the whole thing; Anders Theander doing the mix and mastering while Alessandro De Vel Vecchio recorded all of Fransesco Jovino's drum parts. Label head Gregor Klee undertook the Executive Producer role. The end result has been a blend of true AOR ideals coming together rather nicely in a well put-together package. There's no doubting where Olsson and Bursell's musical heart lies, and that is within the AOR sub-genre well and truly.

The Songs
I'm loving what I'm hearing on the first track 'You're My Wings'. It's a great scene-setter, and with Mikael Erlandsson sounding better than I've heard him in awhile, this is a winner.

'I Want You To See Me' is pure AOR and on this one we hear Bursell deliver a great set of pipes. It's anthemic stuff, with Olsson having listened to some of the best CD's over the last 20 years to come up with a number like this no doubt!

'Only Feel Love' is the sort of song we've heard on many of the Frontiers releases. Kind of cookie-cutter in the arrangement, but the key is in the delivery, which all concerned do admirably.

Get a load of the guitar work from Frozen Heart's Rik Priem as he becomes the catalyst for 'This Love This Time' (no, not a cover of the Signal classic!). This is a beefy rocker, and on an AOR-ish album, that can come as a welcome relief helping to break up the flow. Anette Olzon helps out on this one.

'Change Of Heart' is a slight change in approach. Quite radio-friendly, less dense, highly melodic and highly listenable. Nice..

A strong piano motif introduces 'Can't Find The Words', which brings Mikael Erlandsson back to the fold. And like the earlier track he appeared on, he sounds great here too. It's a power ballad of sorts, which builds to the predicted crash and crescendo later in the song. This track features Mikey K Nilsson (Nasty Idols) and Mats Stahl (Candlemass).

'When Love Comes Alive' reminds of a song which I can't quite place (I hate that.. lol!). Still, this one has the underbelly of a great chorus which you can't help but keep going back to.

'A Man The World Can Do Without' - A great song title yeah? There are many bad men on this planet that we could all do without. Let me think? Hmmm.. Mugabe, Cheney, Bush (which one? lol), Netanyahu.. and more.. Mike Andersson from Cloudscape manages the lead vocal for this one, which really does sound like an Alyson Avenue cast-off. Quite a bit denser than the other track thus far.

'Someone Like You' is perhaps the track I like the most (apart from the opener), sounding like Skagarack on steroids. A compliment if ever there was one!

'Lay Down In My Arms' doesn't contain the brightness of the other songs, but still thrives in a melodic environment that is one or two shades less lighter.

In Summary
It's clear that Niclas Olsson knows a thing or two about writing songs with a strong verse structure with even stronger choruses. This is the AOR recipe by design, and he seems to found a kitchen formula that works for him. It works for us too, as there is not too much to dislike about 'Sapphire Eyes', apart from the horrible art work, which looks like something out of a horror movie! Come on guys.. The fantastic line-up which has been assembled over the Internet (thank you Digi-Design Pro Tools and Email!) is now the norm rather than the exception, and why not? We have the technology, and not everyone with a penchant for melodic rock and AOR lives in Sweden, though judging by the participation here you'd be forgiven for thinking just that. Another Avenue of Allies solid release for 2012, get acquainted with Sapphire Eyes asap!

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