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Bad Habit - 'Atmosphere' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/90/b4/11/994_badhabitatmosphere_1298063978.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 18, 2011    
 
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Very few bands do AOR as well as Bad Habit these days, and Bad Habit have rarely done it as well as this.

It's amazing to think that Bad Habit have been with us for twenty-five years now, quietly going about their business and recording a stream of quality albums. After lengthy periods of inactivity after 'Adult Orientation' (1998) and 'Hear-Say' (2005), 2009's 'Above And Beyond' was perhaps their strongest statement, and it's encouraging to see that the Swedish quintet have kept the ball rolling and may even have delivered their best album, and after a wait of only eighteen months too! With a constant line-up for well over a decade now, band leader Hal Marabel (guitars, keys), Bax Fehling (vocals), Patrik Sodergren (bass), Jaime Salazar (drums) and Sven Cirnski (lead guitar) play consummate AOR with great attention to sublime musicianship and big choruses, of which the thirteen tracks on 'Atmosphere' are all prime examples.

A few long-time fans had expressed concern about the modern style of at least one of the two new songs on last year's 'Timeless' compilation, suffice to say that 'Atmosphere' is a very 80s sounding record, albeit with a harder guitar sound on occasion than previously. The crunchy guitars are certainly welcome on opener 'In The Heat Of The Night' and don't really detract from the melody on offer as the song still has a great verse, tasteful keyboard fills and a big chorus, if anything they give it a bigger driving groove. There are also big guitars on upbeat tracks like 'I'll Die For You', 'Break The Silence' and the irresistible 'Words Are Not Enough', although other tunes like 'Everytime You Cry', 'Fantasy' and 'Only Time Will Tell' are more sedate and mid-paced, but also so well written that they don't suffer in any way from the smoother approach.

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In an ideal world catchy songs like 'Angel Of Mine' and 'Save Me' could nestle in the singles charts alongside some of the more credible pop bands, as could the big emotional ballad 'I Wanna Be The One', but I hope Bad Habit haven't missed a trick by ending the record with two of the best tunes this genre has produced of late in the terrific 'Catch Me When I Fall' and the keyboard-led pomp rocker 'Without You'.

Singer Bax Fehling wrings every ounce of emotion from these songs, engaging the listener with personal and unfussy lyrics and his soaring voice, and with a great production from Hal Marabel and mix from Flower Kings bassist Jonas Reingold, 'Atmosphere' is an album that any self-respecting AOR fan should own. Very few bands do AOR as well as Bad Habit these days, and Bad Habit have rarely done it as well as this.

Phil Ashcroft

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