Art Nation - Liberation

Art Nation Liberation cover
Art Nation
Sony Music/Gain
Art Nation is a band from (try guessing) Sweden, of all places, performing modern slanted melodic rock (the shock n horror!)…
Easily comparable to H.e.a.t, Eclipse and Houston, but even whimper, Artnation are characterized by poppy choruses and highly rhythmical tracks and Alexander Strandell’s powerhouse delivery.
“Ghost Town” is an energetic and up-tempo opener, with the guitar mostly taking center stage during the chorus…
“Maniac” is a funky number that’s got a bit of 80s cool but not quite the chorus, which sounds more boy-band gone rock that rock proper.
“The Real Me” is borderline better, again relying too much on its rhythmical patterns… but this time a nice bridge, gets the job, almost done, because what seems to be the end of the chorus, is a bit underwhelming.
“Kiss Up & Kick Down”, fuck I thought this was a westlife song, until Strandell started shouting the chorus a bit… way too poppy, to be likable, at least to my ears and a waste of a nice solo….
“When Stars Align” has Strandell test his lower falsetto, which doesn’t sound all too impressive, as in his attempt to sound softer, it sounds a little odd, when he comes into his proper modal range, it sounds OK, but some of the weaker parts sound a bit too nasal and wider, than I’d like them to sound. It’s a predictable song that sounds like a refurbished latter day Bon Jovi number, sung by someone who can still sing.
“One Nation”, in its quest to sound anthemic, sounds quite cliché and typical in a genre where Eclipse have seemingly perfected, the “anthemic”/shouted style… this feels slightly lesser, close enough, but no cigar, case.
“A Thousand Charades” goes a tad more disco-rock with its playful keys, but I’m sure both Eclipse and Heat wouldn’t mind its chorus… but only that, since the rest is rather banal.
“Take Me Home” has Strandell trying to sing with as few effects as possible, a simple ballad, where he doesn’t feel at ease, until he comes into his more natural range, past the third minute… the vulnerability is nice, but aurally not all so nice…
The intro of “I’m Alive” has some nice guitars, that suddenly disappear, for AS’s (no pun intended) clean lower vocals to take precedence. The guitars return, along with some rather annoying electronic beat when AS switches into higher gear… it sort of works in principal, but I think the electronics don’t add anything than a false sense of modernity to the track, that’s more detracting than anything else, especially when there are some many great guitar parts on display…
“Paralyzed” comes in hart hitting, but with over-wimpy vocals that only come around during the second verse… the “open your eyes” verses/bridge/chorus combo works great in a track that is a bit of a highlight. But feels a bit longer than its measly three and a half minutes of duration…
Lastly, “What Do You Want” feels like a rock song trapped inside a pop song, or vice versa, more Adam Lambert pop than rock, in essence, but with guitars thrown in there as well that metallize it a bit.
Overall, a promising album that’s a little too confused for its own good. Great performances that seem to exclude each other from taking the spotlight, unless absolutely necessary and a style that feels so amalgamating that doesn’t help in case you’re a bit more puritan or old school, which is a pity. Not bad, but I’d still take Eclipse, Ammunition and then H.e.a.t, before these boys…