Fireworks

Sapphire Eyes - 'Sapphire Eyes' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     December 27, 2012    
 
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A wondrous west coast flavoured AOR album that I can't recommend highly enough.

Sapphire Eyes is the realisation of an ambition that has been knocking about in Alyson Avenue keyboardist Niclass Olsson’s head for several years; to form a male-fronted AOR band. Olsson therefore trawled his songbook; selected 10 tracks that never quite fitted with the female vocal approach of Alyson Avenue; teamed up vocalist Thomas Bursell – whom he had worked with back in 2004 in the melodic hard rock band Second Heat and voila!; Sapphire Eyes was born.

The best way I can describe Sapphire Eyes is that they are a slightly more west coast version of fellow Scandinavian AOR band Brother Firetribe. Now in making this analogy it goes without saying that their songs are built on a foundation of strong hooks and melodies that shine as bright as the gemstone they’ve taken their name from. This really is high quality AOR; full of shimmering keys, guitars that punch and soar in equal measure, strident rhythms and those oh so delicious, honey-soaked vocal melodies. Although I’m particularly fond of the rockier ‘This Love This Time’, where former Alyson Avenue and recent Nightwish vocalist Annette Olzon assists on lead vocals, the band excel on lighter touch numbers like ‘You Are My Wings’, ‘I Want You To See Me’, ‘When Love Come Alive’ and ‘Someone Like You’.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The band has been joined by a veritable who’s who of Scandinavian AOR to record their debut. Guitars are provided by Street Talk’s Sven Larsson and Rik Priem of Frozen Rain along with significant contributions from the unlikely source of neo-glam upstarts Nasty Idol’s guitarist Mikey K. Nilsson. Bass parts were laid down by Göran Forssén and Alyson Avenue alumini Thomas Löyskä; whilst the drums were mostly recorded with erstwhile Hardline sticksman Francesco Jovino, the only Italian of the bunch, occupying the drum stool. Mikael Eriandsson (Last Autumn’s Dream/Salute) sings lead vocal on two cuts and his deeper, husky tones add an extra dimension to the excellent power ballad ‘Can’t Find The Words’. Annette Olzon pops up once more to add harmony vocals on the stunning album closer ‘Lay Down In My Arms’. Not to be outdone her replacement in Alyson Avenue, Arabella Vitanic, also helps out with background vocals on a couple of tunes.

This really is a wondrous west coast flavoured AOR album that I can’t recommend highly enough. It therefore needs to be added to your already long list of must have purchases that have been released in, what has been, another fantastic year for this beloved music of ours.

Alister Strachan

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