October 28, 2022

Grand is another new melodic rock band from Sweden (where else?) having formed in 2020 with this being the eponymous debut release.

The outfit was put together by the singer and song writer Mattias Olofsson who, apparently, has had a long-held ambition to form his own AOR band and it became a reality when he got together with guitarist and producer Jakob Svensson of Wigelius and the drummer Anton Martinez Matz. They have recorded this as a three-piece with Matz doubling up on bass and Svensson show how complete a musician he is with guitars, bass and keyboards but, I’m assuming, that the band will have to recruit should they intend to become a touring act.

The production is sleek and crisp as it the music with wonderful vocals and excellent guitar with Svensson showing that he is a stunning keyboard player too with some most thrilling synth runs. The songs are the usual anthemic stadium rock standards with plenty of soulful ballads in between to harder edged tracks and all are done with a great sense of melody and neat vocal harmonies. Musically, this is a perfect example of mid-Atlantic AOR at which the Swedes excel with Olofsson having a crystal clear, high registry voice with shades of Jon Anderson and there is something of 90125-era Yes about the proceedings. Indeed, you can mention any of the well-known American legends as an inspiration to the music that Grand serves up for us with very close parallels to Mr. Big and Giant amongst the many. In truth, this is a generic and rather formulaic melodic rock album, but we must remember that anything new is no longer possible as everything that can be done in the genre has already been done. Effectively, if you are going to be a melodic band than you will always have the ghost of Journey lurking just behind you and no band can ever come close to what they did and continue to do!

That being said, Grand is still a soulful, burning AOR album that is most pleasing and a very good statement of intent from a band that should forge a fine career in the world of melodic rock.

Grand

  1. Caroline (4:38)
  2. Stone Cold (4:05)
  3. Make It Grand (3:29)
  4. The Price We Pay (4:18)
  5. Johnny On The Spot (4:09)
  6. Those Were The Days (4:26)
  7. Once In A Blue Moon (4:03),
  8. Too Late (4:16)
  9. 9 After We’ve Said Goodbye (4:54)
  10. Ready When You Are (3:49)
  11. Anything For You (4:09)

Grand is out now on Frontiers Records