What is it, do you think, about the air and/or water in Sweden that allows them to pump out the AOR gods seemingly one after another? If, like me, you’ve only just calmed down after the Kent Hilli album (also put out by arch peddlars of AOR filth Frontiers), you’re going to need a fresh pair of laces-up-the-sides breeches and a new, pastel shaded, sleeves-rolled up dust coat because, ladeez and gennelmen’ – I give you Robin Red.
Mr Red is apparently lead vox of Swedish rock institution degreed, of whom I know little or nothing but on the evidence of this will be doing some intensive catching up over the ensuing months as and when the stereo becomes free of this, steaming little classic of a record.
Basically what we have here is a sumptuously put together amalgam of all of your fave AOR of the last thirty odd years; Midnight Rain, the best cut, is absolutely scintillating, a near-unbeatable mix of Mike Tramp and John Waite (if you can even comprehend such a thing), but this song really is a first among equals (that’s enough eighties punnage – Ed.) as every song here, bar none, is utterly, arse-clenchingly superb.
Can’t Get Enough is a cowbell-driven fantasia on early Foreigner, or maybe the Brian Howe-era Bad Company, I can’t decide. Either way it’s a stonker of a track, whilst the summery, upbeat Reason to Survive shifts the influences on a decade or so and adds a little Mr Big or Extreme to the mix. Like I said, this really is the good stuff we’re dealing with here.
I could go on, but there’s only so much hyperbole I can type and you can read. If classic, unreconstructed brilliance is what gets you up in the morning – and by the look of you I think it is – then this is an album that absolutely has to have a place in your collection. All hail Robin Red, new king of AOR retroactivity!
Robin Red is out now.