Album review: PERFECT PLAN- Live at Sharpener’s House

PERFECT PLAN- Live at Sharpener's House

Frontiers Records (Release Date 10.12.21)

Among the finest of this golden generation of Scandinavian acts, Perfect Plan‘s second album ‘Time for a Miracle’ was voted GRTR’s melodic rock album of 2020. That year also saw them play a ‘live in the studio’ concert which was uploaded to You Tube and a whole year later, in which time singer Kent Hilli has released a solo album and covers EP, this has now been released as a stand alone album.

If they have escaped you so far, this is an excellent primer. Six songs are taken from the aforementioned album, opening with the pomp of the title track, and songs like ‘Everytime We Cry’ and ‘What About Love’ mining the seam of Survivor and Joe Lynn Turner-era Rainbow. The keyboards and guitar are in a perfect balance for classic AOR and Kent’s vocals are excellent, with his performance on the ballad ‘Fighting to Win’ a particular tour de force. He also carries off Foreigner’s ‘That Was Yesterday’, complete  with a slightly different vocal intro, with aplomb, losing little in comparison to Lou Gramm.

The final two electric songs are taken from their ‘All Rise’ debut including the song that put them on the map, ‘In and Out of Love’, before a quartet of unplugged numbers. This opens with a cover of ‘Stay’,  a delicious irony as Kent has subsequently been announced as lead singer of a controversial Giant reunion.  ‘Heaven in Your Eyes’  and ‘Don’t Leave Me Here Alone’ are ballads yet they also whip up quite a bluesy storm on the Whitesnake  flavoured ‘Nobody’s Fool’.

The music cannot be faulted, but this type of project will hopefully in years to come be seen as a historical curiosity of lockdown- that hybrid of an album recorded ‘live’, but without an audience. The lack of crowd noise can be discombobulating and only the three words ‘thank you guys’ gives any indication the performance is live.

Worse still, the package seems to have been put together in perfunctory fashion, in disappointing contrast to the more lavish efforts from counterparts Eclipse and One Desire on the same label in recent times. The release is audio- only rather than with a DVD, and there are no sleeve notes, merely an existing picture of the band on the CD inlay.

It feels more of an effort could have been made to produce a package worth having, which is why I feel I cannot award this album the five stars that it deserves on a purely musical basis.   ****

Review by Andy Nathan

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