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On disc: Coastland Ride



Coastland Ride + 3 - Claudia Ehrhardt - 7 stars
On Top Of The World - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars


www.myspace.com/coastlandride







On Top Of The World

On Top Of The World
(Avenue Of Allies - 2011)


In 2003 Coastland Ride released their self-titled debut, now they deliver the follow-up which is called On Top Of The World. The debut is re-released with 3 bonus tracks at the same time this one gets in stores - FYI.

The opener Act Of Faith (One Million Reasons) shows that Coastland Ride have made a step forward, so the song is more guitar-based than the songs on the debut. Btw, at the opener the solo is played by Sven Larsson. The Swedish are still based in Westcoast AOR, but now the guitars are more up front and the songs are more catchy compared to the debut. The title track is showing you where Coastland Ride come from - musically. This one has a Chicago-esque sound combined with a catchy refrain and a memorable piano melody. A bit more bombastic and with a dash of Styx they present Second Chance. Another tune which shows their 80's influences, coz at this one Morgan Ístlin added a saxophone solo. But the saxophone solo itself isn't so 80's. One of my favorites is Save You From Yourself, partly the band steps back and gives the emotional vocals the way and then there is the heavier part with a dash of dark, electro sounds. A sonic roller coaster ride with an infectious hookline! It's followed by Lodestar, a tune based on a bass riff and which will make you move and sing along. Strange Confusion is too poppy for me - it's a bit confusing, coz the guitar is heavy and gives it an edge, but most of it is... well, too poppy. At Jericho Falls they hooked up with Maria RitzÚn (female vocals) and Mark Woznicki (narrator) and so the song sticks out. The spoken words at the opening passage give the song a dark feel - for a little while. But musically it's 80's pop mixed with bombastic 80's rock sounds. Make me somehow think of Laura Branigan, even if I don't really know why... I remember the 80's well, so I can appreciate this one, but I think others will only be confused. The closer is called Nail Me To The Cross and it's quite heavy compared to the other tunes and the singing guitar at the beginning is just cool. Unfortunately it gets lost a little later on, still the song has memorable elements.

Okay, it's been years since the debut, so it a change was something to expect. In this case - at least for me - for the better. The songs are more rock, even if they still based in AOR and have more personality. Let's see what they can deliver next.


8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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oastland Ride +3

Coastland Ride + 3
(Avenue Of Allies - 2011)


Coastland Ride is a Swedish trio which plays Westcoast AOR, and this is a re-release of their 2003 debut album. The self-titled album kicks off with Let Me Let You Go, a tune which sounds to me like a mix of Journey and Chicago... The harmony vocals at the beginning of On The Path Of Greed also have a Chicago-esque touch, but then the raspy vocals add a dash of Survivor. So, it's 80's AOR / arena rock what you get, sometimes with a dash of 80's pop. At Never The Same the Swedish go more Chicago-esque, but it can't hook me up. The special something is missing. Markus Nordenberg's vocals are a bit heavier and raspy at Second Hand America, but instead of make it a rocker they take a dive into pop. I would really like to hear a rock version of this one! The keyboard-laden Believe In Me is a walk on the razor's edge between 80's pop and arena rock. It's mainly the vocals which give it a rock edge. One of my faves is Eyes, a balladesque tune which has a slight melancholy touch - at least parts of the song. I like it when Coastland Ride musically step back to give more space to the vocals. Sleepless begins with acoustic guitars, but I guess when you have two guys in the band who play keyboards it's inevitable that the keys are dominating most songs. I think this would have been stronger when stripped down to guitar and vocals... That's it for the original release, but the re-release has 3 bonus tracks and the first one is Jenny's Heart. It's another 80's pop rocker with a slight dash of Chicago. Back in the days it would have got some attention... Actually The World Is Not Enough is hooking me up right away, it is bombastic, emotional and even if it has some 80's keyboards it's more guitar-based and offers a nice solo echoing the hookline. The closer id called Pitch Black Ride and it's more rock, but combined with the typical 80's keys. Still, I think the rock sound combined with 80's keyboards is working much better. Especially as Markus Nordenberg's voice is powerful enough to stand up against the guitars and the raspiness gives the songs an edge. Somehow the bonus tracks stick out and really add something to the album. They also show that my inklings that a more rock-based sound would do them good. Anyway, it isn't a bad album at all, but it lacks the catchiness of the top AOR albums.


7 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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