MATS KARLSSON (220 Volt) – Mood Elevator (2023)
Guitarist and renowned songwriter MATS KARLSSON (220 Volt / The Summit) will release a new solo album called ”Mood Elevator” on June 30th. This is the second solo effort from the Swede, his first being ‘The Time Optimist’ which was released in December 2019 to some great reviews. The latter being a little more laid back than what 220 Volt is known for, and the new album is more of a hard rock, AOR-ish and funkier album.
Indeed, ”Mood Elevator” is the kind of rockin’ music we want from Mats – crisp, vibrant melodic hard rock with a clean production / mix handled by himself. The CD features 11 new tracks penned by Mats, and also a cover of Joni Mitchells “Big Yellow Taxi”.
Many songs bring to mind the melodic side of 220 Volt during the ’80s, but also Mats other side project ‘The Summit’, rock n’ rolling / classic rock songs with a timeless sound. The album’s songwriting & execution is top class, in fact, ”Mood Elevator” is one of the best releases you’ll hear this week.
Says Mats – “My previous solo album consisted mostly of material that had been in a drawer for many years, up to 20 years or more actually, but the new album is a mixture of songs I’ve been writing during the last 3-4 years. I grew up being inspired by music from the 60’s 70’s and early 80’s and I appreciate many styles of music as longs as it’s performed well musically and has great vocals.
So that’s why I on my solo efforts try and go outside of my normal musical platform (hard rock / melodic metal) and try to write songs that creates room for great musicians. So I pick musicians that I like and that I know will help me get the results I want, people who have the right swing and touch”.
One thing is for sure; ”Mood Elevator” isn’t quiet, introspective as Mats first solo album. ”Mood Elevator” rocks, and rock with melody.
Driven by a catchy riff ‘Beautiful Life’ is highly infectious, then the title track really puts you ‘in the mood’ with some Whitesnake-esque feeling circa 1981, complete with Hammond et all. ‘War Child’ is a beautiful midtempo melodic tune with emotive lyrics dealing with Mats’ mother escape from war as a very young child.
‘Keeping Time’ brings more polished, uptempo bluesy rock n’roll, while the Joni Mitchell cover of ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ gets the female vocal support from Hanna Einebrandt, who did a very good job on the song, a very well done cover.
‘Kiss of Life’ brings back more urgent riffs, as well as the the melodic ‘Letters Without Signatures’, before ‘Higher Than High’ adds a Beatle-sque ‘mood’, just with sharp guitar. ‘Magic Wand’ incorporate atmosphere to its varied guitar work, smooth vocals, and a cool synth effect.
As you see, ”Mood Elevator” consists mostly of uptempo rockers, and while ‘Try My Love’ slow things a little, even rocks at the chorus with a fine bluesy groove.
A really enjoyable album, as said above, one of this week’s best releases.
01 – Asteroids
02 – Beautiful Life
03 – Mood Elevator
04 – War Child
05 – Keeping Time
06 – Big Yellow Taxi
07 – Kiss of Life
08 – Letters Without Signatures
09 – Higher Than High
10 – Magic Wand
11 – Try My Love
12 – Tipping Point
Mats Karlsson (vocals, guitars, bass)
Ferdy Doernberg (keys)
Björn Englen (bass)
Björn Höglund (drums)
Lars Ericcson (bass)
Hanna Einebrant (vocals)
Mike Klemmé (vocals)
Ulf Karlsson (keys)
Peter Hermansson, Robert Hellström, Göran Nyström (bacing vocals)