Interview edit: Anette Olzon, 26 February 2014
The full interview is featured in ‘Assume The Position’
Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sunday 9 March, 22:00 GMT
earMUSIC [Release date 31.03.14]
For those who don’t pick their fruit from the tree of symphonic rock, the first question will likely be ‘who?’, aficionados will be well aware that Ms Olzon is the revered ex-vocalist of Finnish symphonic rockers Nightwish. Now, before those who think the genre somewhat overblown and becoming increasingly moribund switch off, read on – because Shine is, in fact, a rather delightful surprise.
Because while Anette’s symphonic roots are never too far below the surface, she’s taken the genre, captured its essence and then turned it completely on its head delivering what she describes as a ‘pop rock’ or ‘pop metal’ album.
Pop rock is probably the more apt description because although there’s metal undertones it’s a velvet gloved delivery – the power coming from the subtle use of keyboards, strings and percussion rather than guitars turned up to 11. And the title track is the perfect example – as weighty and hard hitting as John Grant, but with one of the tastiest hooks you’ll hear this year.
And that’s not by chance when you look at the collaborators who’ve contributed to Shine – some of the most successful rock and pop teams in Scandinavia – Anders Bagge, jury member of Sweden’s Idols (and producer of luminaries like Madonna, Céline Dion and Jennifer Lopez) and his songwriter team of Stefan Örn (songwriter and producer of the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest winning track Running Scared) and Johan Glössner.
That’s not to say the album isn’t Olzon’s own work, but she’s been astute enough to bring on board those with the skills to polish her ideas into a set of shimmering gems.
The result is one of the best pop/rock albums you’ll hear this year – one that that has the playfulness of early Kate Bush, the pop sensibilities of Music-era Madonna, and even a vague whiff of Magenta. And, of course, subtle symphonic undertones.
But the centre piece is the Swede’s gossamer-like vocals floated on some sparkling arrangements on a set that Nightwish fans may see that as some sort of ‘sell out’. But in truth it’s a triumph and an album that, with a little exposure, could easily see Anette Olzon usurp her former colleagues’ pop-ularity.
It’s nice to hear someone take a chance with something just a little bit different. And to pull it off with such aplomb. A sure contender for album of the year. *****
Review by Pete Whalley
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