Album review: WORK OF ART – Exhibits

WORK OF ART- Exhibits

Release Date 8.11.19

It’s been five years since Work of Art’s third album ‘Framework’ was voted GRTR!’s melodic rock album of 2014, after which they went on an extended hiatus.

However this welcome return has shown no change in philosophy in the intervening years, from the style of super smooth, west coast influenced AOR to the art-punned album title.

Openers ‘Misguided Love’ and the lyrically uplifting ‘Be the Believer’ are typical WoA, influenced by Toto and eighties-era Chicago with Lars Safsund’s crystal clear, soaring vocals adding a layer of real quality. The intro to ‘Another Night’ calls to mind Survivor, though the song is closer in spirit to their Scandinavian melodic rock contemporaries.

Proof of their quality is the way a couple of star names have lent their talents: Jim Peterik, who was blown away by the band when they both played acoustically at a VIP event at 2014’s Melodic Rock Fest in Chicago, has four co-writing credits. Then on ‘This Isn’t Love’, which was already an album highlight for me with stabbing keys and a great chorus, keyboardist and noted film scorer Vince DiCola takes his turn including a spectacular solo mid song where organ battles synthesiser.

The dominant sound is that of keyboards, supplied by a variety of guest players, but with some super melodic guitar solos from main songwriter Robert Sall, though those looking for crunchier riffs or powerchords will search in vain. The one downside is that particularly in the middle of the album, songs like ‘Gotta Get Out’ begin to sound rather similar, while the keyboard melody on ‘Destined to Survive’ was oh so familiar.

‘Come Home’ is somewhat more ambitious with Lars’ vocals at their soaring best and likewise ‘Scars to Prove It’ has an unusually funky guitar intro from Robert but is still very melodic, reminding me of FM’s  more recent  work, and ‘What You Want From Me’ has a great commercial chorus.

‘Let Me Dream’ ends the album on a relatively different and interesting note, reminding me in vibe both of a vintage Foreigner ballad, and ‘Who’s Crying Now’.

I think I still marginally prefer its predecessor where they took more chances on a  slightly rockier sound, but Work of Art have delivered a fourth album of sheer class which (pun intended) is another treasure. **** 1/2

Review by Andy Nathan


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