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Sonic Station - 2014 Next Stop

ARTIST: Sonic Station
ALBUM: Next Stop
LABEL: Avenue Of Allies
SERIAL: 14-01-0060
YEAR: 2014
SPONSOR: Avenue Of Allies


LINEUP: Alexander Kronbrink - guitar, synths, programming, background vocals * Johan Boding - lead vocals, background vocals * Marika Willstedt - lead vocals (3,6,11), background vocals * Jonathan Fritzén - keyboards * Erik Metall - bass * Thorleif Robertsson - drums

Additional Musicians: Mathias Garnås - bass (2,4), background vocals * Arvid Svenungsson - additional synthesizers (5) * Andreas Ekstedt - percussion (4,5,6,7,8,10,11) * Conny Lindgren - strings (4,8,11) * Matilda Bådagård, Matilda Lindell, Rebecca Petersson, Uffe Söderberg - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Amelia * 02 Catch Me If You Can * 03 Brighter After Dark * 04 Fool For Your Love * 05 Stopped Beating * 06 Where Are You Now? * 07 Half Of My Heart * 08 Broken Man * 09 Love Clash * 10 Last Goodbye * 11 Hide And Seek



Well, I've been bleating about this new album since I first saw the You Tube video clips. And now that I'm listening to the real deal, all I can say is 'wow.. holy hell!!' As much as I was a fan of Sonic Station's debut a couple of years back, this new one takes Alex Kronbrink's efforts to grand heights. 'Next Stop' is less about the lighter west coast flavours we heard on the debut, but a move to a harder direction while keeping the traditions of Toto and Work Of Art right at the very forefront. Some of these songs are incredible, and with new singer Johan Boding in tow along with co-singer Marika Willstedt, the vocal talent alone is top class.. scary even. Let's not forget the production, which lifts these songs even more.

The Songs
Most of the regulars will have heard Boding's beautiful voice on the lead-off track 'Amelia' as it was the featured track on You Tube. A dedication to the legendary pilot from the 1930's: Amelia Earhart. Apart from the subject matter, this really is AOR as pure as the whitest snow. Kronbrink and the team heavy it up for 'Catch Me If You Can'. It's got a darker edge and a fair degree of intensity to it. The crescendo toward the end with Kronbrink's soloing heading off the scale is quite breathtaking. Then we get to my favourite track, the incredible 'Brighter After Dark' with Marika handling the vocal. This is quite possibly my favourite track of 2014 so far.. it's got everything really. Just listen to it. 'Fool For Your Love' is the restrained cool-off that follows after three scene-setters. Johan gives us a ballad that brings Sonic Station back to west coast territory. The next track 'Stopped Beating' is aimed squarely at the territory occupied by Toto, funky with a dab of hi-tech tossed into the pan.

Marika jumps in on 'Where Are You Now', which is like Work Of Art with female vocals. An endorsement surely? 'Half Of My Heart' has a heavier vibe, again like an intense Toto but the vocals are just so accurate and clean that Luke and Paich could only dream of having a singer of Johan Boding's class. And just to reinforce the Toto connection once again, take a listen to Broken Man' which shuffles in the same vein as songs like 'Africa' and 'I'll Be Over You'. Beautiful stuff. If you're a fan of Mark Spiro's solo stuff or perhaps Michael Thompson Band, then 'Love Clash' is for you. The resemblance is unreal. The longest track 'Last Goodbye' clocks in at 6 minutes. both this, and the final track 'Hide And Seek' have a commercial progressive presence. The former still pulses along nicely, while the latter song meanders melodically. If one can imagine Belgian songbird Lara Fabian doing AOR, then this is it.

In Summary
So there you have it. Eleven honey-laden songs fit for the AOR purist. It's the sort of CD that I'll be playing often this year just because of the quality and sheer enjoyment I've had listening to it. Support the scene, and get out and buy the CD. Alex and his crew deserve this and so much more. Top of the class!

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#1 | gdazegod on May 27 2014 10:51:22
Sonic Station - 2014 Next Stop videos

YouTube Video:

YouTube Video:

YouTube Video:
#2 | roadrunner158 on May 27 2014 13:45:00
Read the review - bought the CD :-) Can't wait to get home to enjoy it...
#3 | DEMONAOR on May 27 2014 15:42:40
Super Mega AOR album indeed George. Brighter after dark my fave track too, just mega awesome.guns
#4 | kim_hp on May 28 2014 07:38:23
Wow, 2 10/10 ratings?? Well if it's THAT good I must surely get this..
#5 | jeffrey343 on May 30 2014 05:18:40
This is the type of album that usually takes a while to grow on me. The type I can listen to once, say "that's pretty decent", then kinda forget about it. I think most albums where Toto is a reference point are like that for me. Well, I have put this one on the fast track, playing it several times the past three days, and I'm glad to say that it is another killer for 2014. The first album is pretty decent, a bit on the mellow side, and one that I used mainly as background music a few times while on the PC. This is a different beast, with plenty of bite. And having a world-class vocalist (actually two) helps a lot. And the two "making of" videos helped a lot too. It helped that I was playing the Work Of Art and Lionville albums quite a bit over the weekend, so my ears were receptive to this style. This is good stuff for sure.
#6 | george_the_jack on July 18 2014 23:38:35
Not much you can say about this one. This is exceptional stuff and to me, the album of the year (with ''Seven'' taking the 2nd place so far). It is ''as Toto as it gets'' with great musicianship and top notch production which gives you the impression that comes straight from the glory days. What was Houston last year and Lionville in 2012 is ''Sonic Station'' for the year 2014 - the cream of the crop! Just sit down and play this album straight after the ''Seventh one'' by Toto, and you'll get what I mean. Congrats to Alex and co!
#7 | Jez on February 02 2016 13:15:46
Top class Swedish West coast AOR and one of the best of the year of its type. Very highly recommended

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