Göran Edman sure gets around, singing for the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen, Brazen Abbot, Karmakanic and Kharma. Now the vocalist is back with a new Swedish band that also includes renowned guitarist Benny Jansson and drummer Daniel Flores, plus bassist Mathias Garnas and keyboardist Matt Norberg. Collectively, these players boast more than 100 albums to their credit.
More progressive than expected, based on both Edman's résumé and Atenzia Records' catalog, XsavioR makes lush, classic progressive pop-rock that's inspired as much by Styx and Queen as it is by The Flower Kings. But even after several spins, only about half of Caleidoscope's 12 tracks (including "Lex The Fly," "Mr. Chairman," "A Snake In Paradise" and "Xsavior") grab listeners with the kind of hooks those bands use - yes, Flower Kings music actually has hooks. Edman's vocals sometimes sound more understated and electronically altered than usual, while Jansson gives his bandmates plenty of room in the spotlight, avoiding self-indulgence.
Patient progheads may love digging into the constantly shifting and evolving songs on this 65-minute disc, but Edman enthusiasts more accustomed to the big choruses and distinct structures of much of his previous work may be a bit lost. Still, the Swedish label Atenzia deserves credit for stepping outside of its typical modern rock and pop boundaries to release something this challenging.
1) April Skies
2) Lex the Fly
3) Mr. Chairman
4) Take Me Home
5) In Memorial Of … (Taj Mahal, Part I)
6) By the Golden River (Taj Mahal, Part II)
7) Waves of the Sea (Taj Mahal, Part III)
8) Green Mile
9) Cosmic Virus
10) Material World
11) A Snake in Paradise