January 17, 2024

Grand is another of those slick, melodic AOR bands from Sweden having formed in 2020 with Second To None being their second album following on from the self-titled debut which came out in 2022.

The band was put together by the vocalist Mattias Olofsson along with guitarist Jakob Svensson and drummer Anton Martinez Matz with Svensson also supplying bass and keyboards with additional bass from Matz. It appears that they have not played live yet with their first, crucial performance planned for July so I guess they have to expand the team for the event but in the studio they have quickly built up a rapport and working relationship that allows for truly rich and full sound.

The debut showed a band very much playing an American themed melodic rock with a huge emphasis on the 80’s rock of Journey, Toto, Mr Big and Foreigner and the new album stays faithful to this concept with the music flowing on seamlessly. This is anthemic stadium rock and also calls to mind Bryan Adams so it is super-slick and glossy and especially designed to get those lighters waved in the air for the slow burning ballads.

Svensson is a fine guitarist with everything being restrained and in control with Grand definitely subscribing to the less is more school of rock as Second To None is all about the songs and the delivery and not about excessive showmanship. Mattias Olofsson has a great voice with a higher register that is somewhere between John Wetton and Jon Anderson with a touch of Steve Perry too which draws you into the music and you cannot help but be impressed with what they serve up. The album also sees some neat saxophone from Kristian Brink and a very pleasing duet with fellow Swede Nina Söderquist who can always be relied upon to bring gravitas to any project that she is involved in. 

If you are not a huge fan of smooth and soulful melodic rock then Grand is probably not for you but if you are into glamorous American flavoured AOR then you really should give the band a listen.

Second To None is released on 19 January on Frontiers Records and is available for pre-order

Second To None

  1. Crash And Burn (5:15)
  2. When We Were Young (4:27)
  3. Leave No Scar (3:54)
  4. Rock Bottom (3:24)
  5. Sweet Talker (3:39)
  6. Lily (5:09)
  7. Kryptonite (3:41)
  8. Out Of The Blue (4:17)
  9. All Or Nothing (3:49)
  10. Achille’s Heel (4:13)
  11. Daze Of Yesterday (4:29)