A.C.T – Imaginary Friends [remastered reissue] (2023)
It’s not exaggerating to affirm that A.C.T is one of the most innovative progressive melodic bands appeared in the last two decades. Boring is a word so far away from A.C.T that you can ever imagine. Everything is as close to perfect as it can be. Their bombastic sound, the musicianship, the vocals, the compositions, the production, the orchestration and the innovative relationship they have to their music. You can find some reminiscences to QUEEN, JONO, ELO and the lighter side of DREAM THEATER.
Now A.C.T has recovered the rights of their own musical work, and are reissuing in remastered form their early albums hard to find / out of print. “Imaginary Friends” is their second effort from 2001, and one of their finest moments. It delivers an upbeat, energetic and mostly fast tempo music with neat and precise arrangements – plus a clinical, pristine production sound.
It’s good, it’s fun, it rocks and entertain all in one…
The material on the album features elements from various genres and there are many stylistic elements and artists which could be mentioned as influences on A.C.T´s music. I´d mention among others Dream Theater (the “Images and Words” album), Sieges Even (the “Sophisticated” (1995) album), Queen, The Ark (the Swedish pop/rock band), Saga, ELO, and more. A combination of progressive metal elements and sophisticated art pop/rock elements make this an eclectic sounding release.
The music is very melodic and most tracks are easy to sing along to, but they are structurally complex enough to keep you entertained. The songs features an overall cheerful/uplifting mood and the lyrics are generally tongue in cheek humorous.
There´s definitely some great humor involved in this band and one of the biggest praises I will give to A.C.T regarding the music on “Imaginary Friends” is how many positive feelings listening the album evokes. One of the highlights of the record is the fast-paced and energetic “A Supposed Tour” but album opener “Take It Easy” also ranks up there.
But as such all tracks on the album are excellent quality material. Intelligent and memorable compositions.
The musicianship is of high class. This music might have an easy listening poppy feeling to it but it´s certainly challenging in terms of technical playing and compositional details.
Keyboardist Jerry Sahlin uses some great sounds to my ears and lead vocalist Herman Saming has a distinct high pitched voice, while Ola Andersson’s guitar playing is complete, melodic yet rich in the soloing.
“Imaginary Friends” features a powerful, clear, and well sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. So upon conclusion it´s a high quality Rock album through and through. It´s highly recommendable to listeners who are looking for commercial progressive rock / metal with an uplifting atmosphere, played by skilled musicians.
01 – Take It Easy
02 – Hippest Flop
03 – A Supposed Tour
04 – Biggest Mistake
05 – Imaginary Friends
06 – She/Male
07 – At The Altar
08 – Svetlana
09 – No Perspective
10 – Second Thoughts
11 – Mr.Unfaithful
12 – Gamophobia
13 – Little Beauty
14 – And They Lived Happily Ever After
Herman Saming – lead & backing vocals
Ola Andersson – electric & acoustic guitars, backing vocals
Jerry Sahlin – synthesizer, vocals, vocoder
Peter Asp – bass, percussion, backing vocals
Tomas Erlandsson – drums, percussion, backing vocals, keyboards