PEARLS & FLAMES (Street Talk, Coastland Ride, Roulette members) – Reliance (2022) *HQ*
”Reliance” is the debut album from PEARLS & FLAMES, a new Melodic Rock / AOR band consisting of renowned musicians from the Swedish scene. Markus Nordenberg has been the lead singer in an early version of Swedish hard rockers Lion’s Share and continued as the frontman for Coastland Ride, that have released three much appreciated albums in the vein of AOR and Westcoast. Nordenberg is joined by guitarist Sven Larsson (Street Talk, Coastland Ride, Groundbreaker, Fergie Frederiksen and many more), and Tomas Coox, who is a much-appreciated session keyboardist playing live with among others Coastland Ride and Roulette SWE, completing the line-up.
During the Covid Pandemic Markus got in touch with well-known Swedish guitarist, songwriter and producer Tommy Denander (Radioactive, Alice Cooper, Paul Stanley, House of Lords and many more). The two songwriters connected, and Denander not only provided co-write and arrangements, but also produced & mixed “‘Reliance”, a bright, melodic album in the best Scandinavian tradition.
Featuring eleven slices of magnificently crafted Melodic Rock / AOR, the album is simply wonderful.
The CD kicks off with the gorgeous ‘Can We Find The Love’, it is instantly apparent that you are listening to a very high calibre album. It’s all about the songwriting, big hooks combine with bigger choruses, married to sublime musicianship – what’s not to love?
Other highlights are the luscious ‘Love Can Heal Your Heart’, which by rights should be a colossal hit – a more perfect slice of AOR heaven I cannot imagine. ‘It Never Took Away Your…’ is the best song Toto never penned. It could easily have come off the ‘Isolation’ or ‘Fahrenheit’ albums – it is simply that good!
‘Secret Love’ is an up-tempo rocker with a huge singalong chorus, while ‘Follow The Road’ is a lazy and lilting number, but again features a chorus to die for. ‘It Won’t Get Better’ is another rocker resembling a lot Denander’s Radioactive, which is a good thing.
Finally, I would direct you to the beautiful poppy-smooth West Coast of ‘(I Don’t Know Who I am)’ – which if sung by the likes of Robbie Williams – would be a worldwide hit … go figure.
”Reliance” is a genuinely timeless album, chock-full of wonderful songs, stellar musicianship, glorious sing-along choruses – and is everything that is delicious about the AOR, West Coast, Melodic Rock genres.
I cannot commend it to you highly enough. I cannot think of a better ‘feel good’ album this year.
01 – Can We Find The Love
02 – Temple Of Lust
03 – Love Can Heal Your Heart
04 – We Will Meet Again (Cross My Fingers)
05 – Goodbye
06 – It Never Took Away Your Smile
07 – Secret Love
08 – Wires And Frames
09 – Follow The Road
10 – It Won´t Get Better
11 – (I Don´t Know Who I Am) Anymore
12 – Heroes Of Our Time
Markus Nordenberg – vocals
Sven Larsson – guitars, bass, keys
Tomas Coox – keys, synths