Tokyo Storm - 'Optimistic State Of Mind'

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Tokyo Storm - 'Optimistic State Of Mind'

'Optimistic...' will certainly be high on my list of 2018 releases.

Attention! Stand by your beds, Pink and Fluffy Brigade, because this one is certainly for you! Seriously though, if you enjoy the more soothing and sophisticated facets of AOR, then this will be right up your street. This is the debut album from UK Midlands-based Tokyo Storm, a band who, to my current knowledge, has yet to be signed up by any reputable label (C'mon guys, what are you waiting for?).

I've listened to this album innumerable times (as any reviewer should), and one thing's for certain; Ben Green (vocals), Joe Bartnicki (guitar), Jason Edwards (bass) and Bob Peach (drums) should take a huge bow and be extremely proud of themselves, as 'Optimistic State Of Mind', despite an obvious low-budget input, sounds amazing. In fact, on first listen you could easily mistake this album as being yet another one of those highly-polished products from those pesky Swedes (a huge compliment, not a disparaging comment).

For those familiar with Coastland Ride (my review of 'Distance' in issue #81), well, this is along those lines, but is noticeably better. These guys are certainly not trying to reinvent the wheel, but despite their verse/bridge/chorus formulae, and the somewhat predictable rhyming couplets delivery, they have incorporated a modern British sheen to proceedings and have even integrated several West Coast individualisms for good measure. It's a beautifully balanced opus, and with the vast majority of songs on offer being over the five-minute mark you certainly get your money's worth.

By the time you've absorbed the opening troika of the up-tempo title track, balladic 'Is This Love' and uplifting 'Tune' you will appreciate exactly what this group of musicians are all about; sublime lead vocals, tight harmonies, and each instrument given equal exposure. 'Kill The Machines', 'Fire In Your Eyes' and 'Summer Feeling' illustrate the more rousing façade of the band, with Bartnicki injecting some wonderfully controlled guitar breaks. Conversely, if it's the slower, sensory and serene side of AOR that satisfies you, then look no further than 'Stormy Night', 'Lady Darkness' and my personal favourite, the opulent 'Silent Obsession'. The album concludes in rather unusual fashion with 'Signals', an eleven-minute, elegantly constructed instrumental that confirms that these guys are resolutely meshed as one.

'Optimistic...' will certainly be high on my list of 2018 releases and I'm already looking forward to their sophomore effort. Stand at ease!

Dave Crompton

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