State of the Art

1 Can't Keep Running
2 Crying For You
3 In The Blink Of An Eye
4 Too Late
5 Gina
6 This Is It
7 The One For Me
8 Said And Done
9 Matters To The Heart
10 What Love Is All About
11 Mend My Heart

Johannes Stole - Vocals/Keyboards
Daniel Palmqvist - Guitar Keyboards


Daniel Flores - Drums

Produced by Daniel Flores

Released 26/8-2011
Reviewed 8/8-2011


Scandinavian duo called Xorigin are releasing their debut album called State of the Art, with Scandinavian I mean that they are a Norwegian guy and a Swedish guy along with a friend and producer who are making this band come alive. Scandinavia seem to be quite the place for AOR and this album of course is an album of that very genre. It has a spaceship on the cover, a spaceship heading for an Earth in distress which might be caused by the two menacing looking figures sitting on each side of the fuselage of the spaceship. First I thought that these two figures were the members of the band but I soon realised that it wasn’t so, the singer do not play the guitar or bass which makes it impossible for him to be on the ship, at least visible on the cover artwork of this album. I would buy this album only of the artwork, it is just fantastic and who doesn’t like an album with a spaceship on? That’s what I say, the answer is obvious; after all can anyone think of one bad album with a spaceship on?

As I briefly touched in the first section of this review, the musical style of this band starting with an X is the one that goes by the name of AOR, or melodic rock if you like that term better, maybe melodic hardrock if one should be more accurate perhaps. That means that they play melodic rock music with high pitched clean vocals, very melodic guitar sound, a production that is finely polished with the best possible polisher and it accomplishes a catchy sounding form of rock music with choruses that will bore their way into your brain no matter if you want it or not. This album has all of that and also the classical AOR-mood-keyboards that many bands in the genre use. They do however have some twists that are not completely within the conforms of the genre, but in general they do remain within what can be said to be the guidelines of the AOR-genre. This album has eleven tracks and it will take you around forty eight minutes to play it in its entirety.

You cannot dislike a band with a spaceship on the cover, can you? Of course you can’t this album is really good, it has every trademark of what is good within the genre, the vocals are great, guitar lines are great and the choruses are catchy and great and the sound is of course fantastic which is the minimum requirement for this genre. The album starts with Can’t Keep Running which is a brilliant track that sets a high bar for the rest of the album to pass. I think the bar is being set slightly high with this first track as none on the album following the opener is as good even though they are several amazing tracks in there, Gina is one that sits well with me, maybe it is her dirty secret that makes it so great. But there are a few more that works really well and no track feels like a filler.

Still I am not as overwhelmed as I should be with an album of this caliber which I do think is in part down to the fact that you should never start an album with the best track you have, you just shouldn’t. Also it is in part down to the fact that the album sound like so much we have heard before and I think to be really fantastic this album would have needed a bit more Xorigin and a bit less of classical AOR-parallels that can be drawn to old bands through every song. Still, when you disconnect the critiquing part of your mind and just enjoy the music then it is just brilliant.

An album of great songs and music with catchiness to die for and flashes of musical genius this State of the Art is a work of art, unfortunately if we start looking a bit critical at it the parts feels very much like they are borrowed from elsewhere. So maybe not the most unique album in the world but by god is it good.


Label: Frontier Records
Three similar bands: Big Life/Airrace/Toby Hitchcock
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Recensent: Daniel Källmalm
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