Secret Love

01. A Wonderful Illusion
02. Secret Love
03. Brave New World
04. Closer To The Fire
05. Don't Ask Me Why
06. Heart Of A Hero
07. Waiting For A Miracle
08. Seconds And Eons
09. Borrowdale
10. In My Mind
11. Borrowdale Reprise

Lars Hallbäck (Guitars)
Göran Edman (Vocals)
Richard Stenström (keyboard)

White On Blue (2004)

Per Lindvall (Drums)
Sven Lindvall (Bass)
Kalle Moreus (violin)
Mats Ronander (Harmonica)
Sara Lindvall & Hanna Andersson (vocals)
Pablo Cepeda (Congas & Bongos)
Wojtek Goral (saxophone)
Leif Lindvall, Hans Dyvik & Magnus Johansson (trumpet)
Urban Wiborg & Peter Johansson (trombone)

Bernard Löhr (mix)

Released 25/11-2011
Reviewed 1/12-2011


Don’t be confused by The Swedish American Oriented Rock act Crossfade and think it’s the American American Hard Rock band with the same name, which released their third album this autumn and had their breakthrough a few years ago with the single So Cold. The Swedish AOR band that is reviewed here has just released their second album and it’s called ’Secret Love’.

I always think it’s quite obvious when bands spend time, effort and money on their albums. You don’t necessarily get the best music from it but they always have such a good sound. They sound really professional and have such a nice mood on them. Crossfade ticks all those boxes, which might not be so strange when you consider that the band has spent seven years working hard in their own professional studio to work on this album. Which really can be heard on ’Secret Love’. I’m not the one that normally makes too much fuzz about how long time anyone has spent in the studio or working on an album as long as what we’re offered sounds decent. But this is much more than just decent. This is like super duper extra excessively decent.

As I’ve already written this is an AOR album and if you want something more specific it’s typical West Coast AOR. It sounds very much like the calmer and softer AOR bands where the guitars are in most focus, virtuosing it’s way through the music – like Steve Miller Band, Santana, Eagles and Steely Dan. If you know how they sound you have a pretty good picture of how Crossfade utter themselves. If you don’t then think it’s softer music with guitars playing melodies and harmonies while they still find some time to show off a bit. Somehow it feels very bluesy. Almost blue. And I love how they use the keyboards as well as the violins, saxophones and other instruments that we normally find present in big blues orchestras lead by charismatic vocalists like James Brown and such, spiked with the classic sound of Gibson semi acoustic arch top guitars. Not so strange perhaps that it also have a sprinkle of jazz in it… but with a decent vocalist!

So far so good, if you like softer rock and overly produced music or is audio sexual. It should sound quite good also for you who is a fan of nice melodies, because the melodies are very nice, I think! They work just as good to have in the background as they do in active hearing. And the vocals are fantastic! Reminds me a bit of the young guy in Pride Of Lions (Toby Hitchcock) – a voice very clear and clean, almost round and a bit moist it sounds. I actually think that Mr Edman also have a bit lisping in his pronunciation, all though that’s mostly charming if you ask me. Behind Edman we find a wall of choirs and backing vocals as well as some female side-leads. We find these walls in almost every song on this album, which really gives them depth and sense and almost feelings. Not to mention character and the whole thing just becomes grand and firm. Like if nothing has been left on the album by coincidence. I bet they’ve tested the different things on this album at least a hundred times before finally settling with what’s on it. The harmonica should be exactly where they are, the words in the chorus should be repeated exactly this number of times and so on… The result is therefore no coincidence either.

’Secret Love’ does not only feel like an elaborate and greatly produced album – it also feels consistently very good! The songs are not of my usual taste as they have a bit too much 70’s feel over them (and I’m quite un-fond of 70’s music) and also a tad too much ”look at me” over the guitars. Still, I like ’Secret Love’ from beginning to the end. The only exceptions are those of my personal disliking and not something the band does wrong. The vocals are very good and the same things can be said about the instrumental parts as well as the guest appearances. Like the trio Lindvall, Dyvik and Johansson who handles the trumpets. And Kalle Moreus who handle the violin. And Mats Ronander with his harmonica, as well as all those great anonymous backing vocalists.

Shortly, I can say this is one of the most elaborate albums within the AOR-genre that I’ve heard! Throughout the entire album we find good songs, good individual performances and good sound, even though I find the length of the album balancing a bit on the border of being too long. Fortunately it ends before becoming too long and becoming repetitive and boring. So, in the end this might just be the best album within this genre released this year! I think this album definitely grows to become a must-have album for all fans of softer AOR!


Label: Songwork/Sound Pollution
Three similar bands: Steve Miller Band/Steely Dan/Pride Of Lions
Rating: HHHHHHH (6/7)
Recensent: Caj Källmalm

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