Sweden has an enviable reputation for fertilizing rock acts, producing quality bands such as Europe. Art Nation are another great band from the country of Abba and Liberation is one of the best pop rock albums you will hear this year. It is a sublime summer feel good record that will make you dust off your sleeveless T-shirt, put on your Ray Bans and slick back your hair.
Formed only in 2014 by Alexander Strandell in Gothenburg, Art Nation released their debut in 2015 (Revolution). This release on Gain Records shows progression and is a masterclass in songwriting. Having mentioned Europe earlier, I see this band as natural successors to them with their catchy choruses, white hot soloing and tasteful use of keyboards. Make no mistake, these guys can play their instruments and then some!
The eleven songs here run with power and technical skill. The singing of Strandell reminds me of a mixture of Klaus Meine of Scorpions, Dan Reed and James Blunt (don’t that last one put you off). Their sound is classic pop rock, with a great production and a sweetness of tone that should ensure radio play across the world.
The songs bounce around your brain like flies around hot candy. The guitars surprise with the ferocity in the middle of this sweet sonic playground and this record passes the ultimate test – driving with the windows open down the highway…Bliss!
Starting out with splashes of drums, “Ghost Town” just hits the spot with a great chorus and distorted vocals. It is so bright, your ears need sunglasses. There is something so modern about the sound, like an updating of classic Dare.
The classy tunes keep coming with “Maniac” and “The Real Me” making you want to dance and play air guitar.
The drums of Carl Tudén are sophisticated and rock solid. Likewise, the bass playing of Simon Gudmundsson is busy but tight. There are so many highlights, but my favorite songs are “One Nation” with its Scorpions references and the frankly huge “Kiss Up & Kick Down“.
Get your summer started early and take a listen to this album – one of my favorite records of 2017 already.