Artist:  The Theander Expression
   Title: Strange Nostalgia
   Label: Avenue Of Allies
 

When I was 10 years old, (1972), I tied some string round the handle and head of a tennis racket, put it round my shoulder, put some high-heeled boots on (my sisters!), got the hoover as a mic stand, and mimed along to pop records by The Osmonds, Gary Glitter and The Sweet.  Where did all that dreaming of being a pop star get me in later life? 34 years a postman, that's where!! Some people get to follow their dreams to it's fruition, as Andree Theander has done from the age of 10, picking up his first tenn.... guitar, then writing his music not long after, and eventually ending up in the U.S.A. at the Musicians Institute in L.A.  Returning to his native Sweden, he formed The Theander Expression with musicians he either knew or knew of their work, who together have recorded this album, 'Strange Nostalgia', which some may find a bit too 'samey' in it's 10 tracks, maybes boring to others.

Even though it's the brainchild of Theander, there are two other vocalists who take centre stage, Christian Hedgren and Goran Edman each taking turns with the songs when called on, the main man quite happily doing backing vocals and on the guitar too.  As described, the deeper you get into the album, the more it does start to sound very similar, track by track,
'Like A Chameleon', laid back with it's easy-going tempo, is in the same mould as 'Champagne Wishes And Caviar Dreams', both suffering from a touch of cringe worthy lyrics at times.  What can't be nit-picked are the stylish guitar solos that penetrate the songs and take them on a soaring journey each time, the best of them paraded mid-way through 'Conception Of Life', a full of life song that will shake the listener out of a mind-wandering moment that they may be in the middle of!  Blame that on the sleep-inducing 'Feeling Of Luxury', because if you're already part sleep-mode, then this will knock you flat out! Even the rich solo wraps you up in it's warm vibe, and away you go...

Luckily there are some songs that pull away from the comfort zzzone and get the feet tapping along, 'Sanguine' and the rather O.C.D.-based 'Insanity Cell', (probably the first of it's kind too!), both having a rocking riff pulsating within the song, and very much needed to keep anyone interested in the album, which is a shame as it's not a bad one at all, just...too relaxing!! You wanna sit and drift away in your thoughts? 'Meet Me There Tonight' will do the trick, as it's string section is as comforting as a duck feather pillow, so thank the Lord for the riffed-up 'Mr.Know It All' coming along and slapping you round the face to bring you back to your senses, with yet another grand solo in tow as well.

'Masterpiece In The Dark' hits the Toto mark dead centre, Herman Furin's drumming very reminiscent to the style used by Jeff Porcaro timelessly, the jazz/rock fusion definitely the highlight on the album, Theander's guitar skills unquestionable from start to finish, as it has been throughout. The title track more or less sails through without much of a fuss, not standing out as much as some of the others, which is the main problem here, as explained earlier, all too similar that this album passes you by with more of a whimper than a slap in the tash! Shame, as it spoils it for the couple of tracks that deserve to be heard more often, but will suffer for it instead.

Hopefully, the next Expression album will have a better mixture of songs that veer away from 'the same old', and capture the attention of one certain listener a bit better than this one did.  Fingers x-ed!!

Review by: Robb Baldwin

 Tracklisting:

1. Conception Of Life 
2. Strange Nostalgia
3. Insanity Cell
4. Like A Chameleon
5. Sanguine
6. Feeling Of Luxury
7. Mr Know-It-All
8. Masterpiece In The Dark
9. Meet Me There Tonight
10. Champagne Wishes And Cavier Dreams
 

                  

 

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