CD Reviews

Hasse Fröberg and the Musical Companion - 'Powerplay' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 14, 2012    
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Another fine album.

I reviewed the debut album (‘Future Past’) from this outfit which, I didn’t know at the time, was Fröberg’s means of keeping busy whilst The Flower Kings (TFK) were on indefinite hiatus.

For the uninitiated Fröberg shares vocal and guitar duties (rhythm guitar) with Roine Stolt in TFK, with Fröberg being the guy singing the rockier material thanks to his wonderfully gritty voice. He certainly brings the Rock element to TFK’s otherwise classic Prog sound. The debut didn’t stray massively from the TFK template but it was different enough to show Fröberg’s versatility and influences, particularly the bluesy inflections and guitars that were more riff orientated than those employed by his main band. Album two treads a not dissimilar path so there’s much to enjoy here.

‘My River to Cross’ is a bit of an epic clocking in at ten minutes; it opens in TFK style before some lovely Hammond Organ and a fine riff inject a different feel. The track then moves through several styles including a bit of Prog Metal, Heavy Rock, and even Gospel (on the chorus) as the band juxtapose light and dark passages in a wonderful arrangement. The big finish has solos from guitar, synthesiser and Hammond all of which are glorious.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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‘The World Keeps Turning’ has a modern-ish feel with Maroon 5 coming to mind, it’s short, sweet and very catchy. ‘The Final Hour’ is another epic which I could utilise several pages over describing, but let’s just say it ticks so many Prog boxes. Gentler in approach than the opener the vocal arrangements are truly delicious and at various times Yes and Camel, amongst others, come to mind.

‘Waves’ is a ballad with a lovely beat; Fröberg’s vocal delivery is delicate yet full of passion and feeling. ‘Venice CA’ is an energetic homage to the location of the title. It’s light in its approach and has an 80’s AOR feel to it, thus providing some interesting variety. ‘Is it Ever Gonna Happen’ is part Glenn Hughes style Rocker and then adds various genres of Prog as well as a section that sounds like The Police.

‘White Butterfly’ is a short acoustic ballad that harks back to the likes of Crosby Stills Nash & Young while ‘The Chosen Ones’ has chiming guitars that remind me of Steve Hackett before the song explodes into something distinctly heavier. It settles into mid-paced verses and grittier chorus. The keyboards of Kjell Haraldson get to shine with some fine solos and guitarist, Anton Lindsjö also gets to lay down a couple tasty solos of his own. ‘Godsong’ closes the album, starting with a just plaintive piano and vocal it then builds to another memorable melody. There’s a guitar solo that has a Brian May feel, albeit with Supertramp backing him up.

This is another fine album and is all the more interesting because of its eclectic nature and styles used, even within the same song.

Gary Marshall

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