ALYSON AVENUE – Changes [Japan reissue +2] (2017) + unreleased extras
“Changes” was the chosen title for female fronted Swedish melodic rockers ALYSON AVENUE comeback album, in this Japanese edition / reissue including two bonus tracks.
After the departure of original vocalist Anette Olzon to Nightwish in 2007, the rest of the band started the search of a new singer. Arabella Vitanc, a hidden Swedish jewel, joined the band giving Alyson Avenue new energy to start the work on new songs, so you can say “Changes” is more than a proper title.
Even with a new vocalist, some things have not changed for Alyson Avenue: they still deliver solid and entertaining AOR / melodic rock on “Changes” inspired by the classic sounds of the genre.
This time out they were helped by some significant contributors including back up vocals from Olzon, Michael Bormann, guitar work from Rob Marcello (Danger Danger, Marcello-Vestry), and a slick production from veteran Chris Laney (Crazy Lixx, H.E.A.T).
The album kicks off with the hard-edged “Liar”, which, ironically, has some Nightwish-y elements, especially in the vocal melodies. But the sound / arrangements are 2000’s European melodic rock with sharp guitars and tons of keyboards.
“Will I Make Love” features Michael Bormann (ex-Jaded Heart, Bloodbound, etc) dueting with Arabella, and they do feel very good together. A very commercial modern AOR tune.
Title track “Changes” is another heavier track (written by Shiva’s Mats Edström) and features Rob Marcello on a scorching lead guitar solo. “Amazing Days” is a favorite, a pure Swedish female-style AOR tune, very Eighties, much in the style of Erika’s works. A winner.
Next up, “Don’t Know If Love Is Alive” is a mid-tempo tune with Heart-like verses and a melodious chorus.
“Fallen” features a strong riff and a typical Scandi-AOR sound like Treat circa 1987 but with female vocals. Nice keyboard swirls and cool chorus here. Same with “Into The Fire”, another favorite, very ‘Swedish retro’ yet with a modern production.
Maybe the most complete vocal performance by Arabella is found on “I Will Be Waiting”, hitting some higher notes. The lead guitar solo is sparkling and the keyboards provide a meaty substance.
“Somewhere” is a more contemporary melodic hard rocker with a modern feel, while “Always Keep On Loving You” again remembers you late Eighties rock in a good form.
“Changes” is a classy AOR / Melodic Rock album with an updated sound. Niclass Olssson (keyboards and background vocals) handles most of the writing on the record and it shows a more mature touch to each song. Some of the material reminds of older Treat with an updated twist.
As to debate over the vocals I don’t see any, I think both original singer Anette and Arabella are talented female vocalists in their own right, the latter probably has less range but still fits the style of the band pretty well with the type of music they play. Mike Andersson of Cloudscape and Fullforce actually sings background vocals on half of the tracks on here adding a nice depth.
The band itself and mix master Chris Laney handled the production duties skillfully.
Aside from the Japanese edition bonus tracks (recorded at the same sessions) we added two ‘extras’; songs taped for Alyson Avenue first album but never released.
01 – Liar
02 – Will I Make Love
03 – Changes
04 – Amazing Days
05 – Don´t Know If Love Is Alive
06 – Fallen
07 – Into the Fire
08 – I Will Be Waiting
09 – I´ll Cry for You
10 – Somewhere
11 – Always Keep on Loving You
JAPAN BONUS TRACKS:
12 – Alone
13 – What Comes Around
14 – I Am No Angel [first album outtake]
15 – Your Love, My Mind [first album outtake]
Arabella Vitanc – Vocals
Niclas Olsson – Keyboards
Thomas Löyskä – Bass
Tony Rohtla – Guitars
Fredrik Eriksson – Drums
Michael Bormann – Vocal duet on “Will I Make Love”
Rob Marcello (Danger Danger) – Guitar
Mike Andersson (Cloudscape) – Backing Vocals
Anette Olzon – Backing Vocals
Tommy Stråhle (Cloudscape) – Backing Vocals
BUY IT !