A Rocktopia user review by Woody.
Sweden’s Glam / Sleaze rockers Bai Bang are back with their 7th studio album, “Livin’ My Dream”. The band have been around since the early 80’s and have had a few line up changes in those years, so rockin’ the current line up with main man Diddi Kastenholt (vocals) is Pelle Eliaz (Guitar), Joacim Sandin (Bass) & Johnny Benson (Drums). They have roped in well respected studio guru Martin Kronlund to master this album and as per usual he works his magic on this release.
As I popped this album in my stereo, I wasn’t expecting much to be honest. I have the band’s previous album which is OK and a greatest hits which again has a few great songs but on the whole nothing spectacular to my ears. So they are a band I don’t exactly go woohoo for but I do keep an ear out for, therefore my level of indifference didn’t have me rushing to press the play button. Fifty odd minutes later my jaw has dropped through the floor and popped out in Australia such is the joyous shock of this fantastic collection of songs.
I am only a casual fan of the band and in my opinion this is by far their strongest collection of songs ever. Don’t let the glam and sleaze image of the band dictate what you think the band will sound like because musically this is AOR with a hard edge. There is a bit of the sleaze rock attitude amongst the song’s lyrics and style, but on the whole this is a scandi rock lover’s dream with melodies and big ass choruses that AOR bands would sell their souls for.
Looking at the track listing you’d be forgiven for thinking this album was going to be clichéd beyond belief even I rolled my eyes. Thankfully this album isn’t an average retread of every rock song of the 80’s, and the songs shine far more than the titles would have you believe. The lyrics are never going to win any awards, but it doesn’t make the songs bad – far from it given the melodic beauty of this album. As an album it’s not big and clever, it’s not poetry or will it answer life’s hard questions and it doesn’t solve world hunger, but damn it’s fun!
Opener “We’re United” is a loud and proud rocker with a hand's in the air shout it out loud chorus! Title track “Livin My Dream” has a dark musical groove with a fantastic smooth melodic chorus. This song will hit you instantly and stick with you. “Come On” is a smooth as fook mid-tempo rocker – done by any other band it would be hailed as an AOR Classic. It contains some great subtle keyboard work and some excellent vocals from Diddi – in fact I really enjoy his powerful and melodic vocal style throughout the album. A great song with a killer chorus and super feel good vibe.
“Rock On” follows next, yes it does follow a song called “Come On” – but trust me don’t let this put you off! This mid-tempo ballad (yes it’s a ballad! Didn’t see that one coming did ya!) has a swaggering vibe to it and a killer chorus that I guarantee you will end up singing along too. There is some wonderful guitar hooks on the verses courtesy of Pelle Eliaz. “Stay” is a no holds barred melodic rock anthem. Catchy as hell with a massive unforgettable chorus, as commercial as it gets, with smooth melodies that pop bands wish they could create! Ballad “Gonna Have It All” is pure Def Leppard. It’s another great song with some great guitar work which is straight out of the 80’s rock song writing hand book.
“Tonight” is a mid-tempo rocker with a smooth and haunting chorus. Some big crunching guitars balance the light of the soaring melodies fantastically. “Rock It” has a huge instant sing along chorus. A mid tempo rocker with cool vibe and a positive ambience. “Die For You” is a top notch power ballad – totally awesome song! This song hit me on the first play and I love Diddi’s powerful and haunting vocals and I’m sure you will too I’m convinced it’s impossible not to dig this song. More great guitar hooks and some killer harmonies on the chorus on this tune. “Put On Her Dress” which concludes the album has a full on smooth melodic chorus. It also has some great groove laden riffs from Pelle & excellent harmonies which accentuate the chorus amazingly well.
This is a definite must for fans of Scandi melodic rock, a surprisingly solid collection of rock anthems. Full of big guitar riffs with even bigger melodies to match will surely appease all genre fans. Damn these guys know how to write a memorable and catchy song. One of the best albums of the year, trust me you’ll not hear much better! Crank It Up and let the neighbours listen they’ll love it!!!!
Track Listing: We’re United / Livin’ My Dream / Come On / Rock On / Stay / Gonna Have It All / Tonight / Rock It / Die For You / Put On Her Dress
Album Rating: 5/5
Woody’s Essential Track: Die For You
Paul 'Woody' Woodward (Rocktopia user name: Woody)