WINDING ROAD – Winding Road (2021)
Sweden gives us another wonderful pearl of Melodic Hard Rock: the self-titled debut of WINDING ROAD is an almost perfect album for the genre; catchy, plenty of infectious melodies and very well produced with a crisp sound.
The songs all have an incredible punch, with captivating refrains and wonderful melodies that bring back to life the spirit of the ’80s Arena Rock and the unforgettable atmospheres from bands like Journey, Europe, Def Leppard and Foreigner, and they do that absolutely far from nostalgia or as a simple ‘revival’ but rather in a fresh and updated way.
The thriving Scandinavian melodic rock scene is not just one for young bucks. Winding Road are a new band in which three musicians with a long list of credits in their native Sweden have come together to play in their preferred style.
‘It’s a Matter of Survival’ is a quietly impressive start, with Jonas Tyskhagen’s clear vocals and, though the song structure is very melodic, the lead guitar of Magnus Akerlund is prominent. Starting with some stabbing keys ‘Summertime’ goes for the same Survivor-influenced territory as contemporaries Perfect Plan.
Both the keyboardsy ‘Stranger in the Night ‘and ‘Call On Me’ have great choruses and the latter is prevented from slipping too far into an overly lightweight West Coast sound by some excellent guitar solos. Then another highlight appears with the piano-led ballad ‘I Lost You’, lifted by another fine solo, not to mention some parping keyboards!
Other strong melodic tunes to mention are ‘Out of Control’, midtempo ‘Take Me As I Am’, ‘On my Own Again’ and ‘Shooting Star’.
‘Gotta Get Close to You’ is a different beast. An enjoyable rocker in the mould of Joe Lynn Turner-era Rainbow, it is enlivened by a fun synth solo, then a guitar solo calling to mind John Norum in his most Schenker-influenced phase in the original Europe.
It is part of a strong closing trio with the lush sounds of ‘Before It All Falls Down’ the pick of the three ballads and ‘We Can Run Away’ having the anthemic Eighties quality of Survivor or Stan Bush.
The sound is traditional Melodic Rock / AOR circa 1985, even dated with no attempt to emulate the more modern sounds of the Scandinavian contemporaries cited in the press release but, that’s part of the “Winding Road” charm. Magnus’ production is refreshingly clear with the instruments clearly separated.
Fans of the very ‘traditional’ sound & style of the genre rejoice. This pure Gold.
01. It’s A Matter Of Survival
03. Call Me
04. I Lost You
05. Out Of Control
06. Stanger In The Night
07. Take Me As I Am
08. On My Own Again
09. Shooting Star
10. Gotta Get Close To You
11. Before It All Falls Down
12. We Can Run Away
Jonas Tyskhagen – Lead Vocals
Magnus Akerlund – Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Background Vocals
Jan Hedlund – Drums, additional Keyboards, Background Vocals