Swedes JD Miller, now on album number three with Afterglow, really appear to be approaching the top of their game. Genre-wise, they purvey that axcellent ‘heavy AOR’ so beloved of fellow Scandinavians Pretty Maids, with songs like the excellent Light Your Fire sounding for all the world as if Maids throatsmith Ronny Atkins might have had a hand in penning the melodies.
That’s rich praise, of course, but it’s a comparison the band are more than able to live up to. Vocalist Peter Halldén is actually a little smoother on the ear than Atkins for the most part, but his ability to carry a tune with classy conviction is just as accomplished as the king of the Danes. The album’s epic centrepiece, In The Afterglow, shows him at his best, as the track ebbs and flows, swells and recedes through nearly nine minutes of finely wrought emotion. It’s mightily impressive stuff, let me tell you, glossily modern at it’s core yet brimful of seventies classic rock style and panache. The way the band builds in support of Elias Fröjd‘s solos is nothing short of masterful, with the band bringing an almost proggish sense of bombast to their melodic rock as the song wends it’s way to closure.
The Desire is another out and out highlight, built on a grinding piece of rifferama from Fröjd and a spine tingling chorus that mixes those ever-present shades of the Maids with a big and most welcome dollop of Treat in their prime. You’ll be hitching up the sleeves of your dust coat and kicking up your heels in your best cowboy boots as soon as you hear this little nugget, let me tell you…
After repeated exposure to Afterglow – I’ve had the album for about a month now – I literally cannot finger one single chink in JD Miller’s songwriting armour. Not every song on this record is a stone cold classic, of course, but even the ‘lesser’ material has much to recommend it. And when these boys fire on all cylinders, well… that’s something to behold. Well worth a lisyen if classy tunesmithery is your thing!
Afterglow is released on October 18th.