Frontiers [Release date 10.12.21]
Melodic Rock/AOR band, Zelbo is named for keyboard player and founding member, Dag Selboskar.
This relatively unknown Norwegian musician in fact has quite a pedigree. He debuted with the legendary Da Vinci. His DV bandmate, Bjorn Boge went on to form Street Legal with guitarist/producer, Ken Ingwersen (who produced In My Dreams). Selbosar joined them for a while in the mid nineties. He also contributed keys to the recent Memoria Avenue album on Frontiers.
In My Dreams is unashamed AOR. It’s one of those “best before 1989” albums, cut from the same cloth as Perfect Plan and Kent Hilli, two similar artists on the same label.
By definition then, none of these bands is groundbreaking. That’s not the intent…they’re not looking for the music to transcend its genre limitations. Each and every song is emblematic of an era. Perfect pastiche.
The sweet harmonising and tight interplay of the slickly melodic opening track, ‘In My Dreams’ whip up a strong, driven sense of yearning, establishing the mood.
That alluring sonic atmosphere is reinforced by the modestly graceful, elegantly simple ‘Phoenix Rising’ and ‘Small Town Girl’. Each has the same sprightly step as Work Of Art’s material, without perhaps reaching the same hooky pop heights.
The AOR pendulum swings way into Eighties’ Soft Rock territory with ‘Wild Young And Free’ and ‘Beautiful Flyaway’. There are memories of artists like Christopher Cross and Ambrosia buried in these grooves. Each track has a constant pulse, an AOR heartbeat that cleverly disguises the music’s lack of depth.
‘Fortune And Fame’ and ‘Heads Down’ carry a weightier punch, each suggesting that the band has been thumbing through a dog eared copy of Journey’s blueprint, sprinkling familiar musical phrases and riffs here and there, beefing up the sweet, lyrical melodic rock that is clearly the band’s default position.
With In My Dreams, Zelbo capture the past, and present it in primary musical colours. Even when you’re joining the dots, you can create an attractive picture. ***1/2
Review by Brian McGowan
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Power Plays w/c 16 May 2022 (Mon-Fri)
FLOYA The Hymn (Arising Empire)
VEXES The Dream Disease (indie)
NEAR DUSK The Way It Goes (Iron Head Records)
IN SEARCH OF SUN Make Me Crazy (indie)
WALLNER VAIN Deceive Her (indie)
FIGHT THE FADE Where You Go I Go (FiXT)
MARATON Non-Euclidean Heart (Indie Recordings)
Featured Albums w/c 16 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 TERRA NOVA Ring That Bell (Lion Music)
12:00-13:00 FOZZY Boombox (Mascot)
14:00-16:00 MICHAEL McDERMOTT St.Paul’s Boulevard (Pauper Sky Records)
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