Friday, September 23, 2011

Review: Work of Art “In Progress”

AOR/Melodic Rock
Frontiers Records is on a roll finding new melodic rock releases to fill up your end of summer playlists. Work of Art is an AOR outfit from Sweden that had its early origins in 1992 when Herman Furin and Robert Sall met while attending the SÖL school of music. They didn’t acquire a lead singer until 15 years later, but Lars Sarfsund, who sounds quite a bit like Joseph Williams (Toto, Vertigo), proved worth waiting for, and all this time gave the boys the chance to really polish their craft. The debut album was called “Artwork” and earned critical acclaim in the AOR community upon its release in 2008, drawing comparisons to genre icons like Toto, Giant, and Journey.

“In Progress” is the heavily anticipated follow up to their debut, and Work Of Art proves they have plenty of hooks left up their sleeves. As before, Work of Art pulls no stops in trying to dazzle the listener with driving guitar licks and lofty keyboards. Overall, “In Progress” is a dead ringer for 80s-era Europe if you ask me, with a smattering of tasty prog rock thrown in now and then.

“The Rain” is quite the tempest – a stewing pot of sweeping melodies swirled with slick guitar riffs and in-your-face keyboards. “Nature Of The Game” keeps the high octane pace full throttle with another keeper of a chorus. The boys shake the mood up a bit with the mildly darker “Once Again”, but the moody verses lead us to the type of sugary chorus that made Giant so huge. “Never Love Again” is one of my favorites on the CD – upbeat verses propelling you to that rewarding chorus once again, augmented with affable harmonies. Punchier guitar churns “Eye Of The Storm”, but the melody sticks right in your ear the first time – and check out those slicing keyboards in the chorus! You’d think a band that could crank out five consecutive excellent pieces of melodic rock would run out of steam, but not so with Work Of Art. Other highlights include the blistering first single, “The Great Fall”, “Emelie”, and “Castaway”, which features a refreshing acoustic verse that lets Sarfsund really strut his stuff.

If you like big keyboard-rich melodic rock with outstanding vocals, Work of Art is the band for you. You’ll feel like it is 1989 all over again!

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11

Work of Art – more info here.