Grand Stand, an extremely melodic and talented progresive rock band from Sweden, have scored big with their second CD release, titled Tricks of Time. With a huge symphonic sound that relies on sweeping keyboard orchestrations and emotional guitar leads, Grand Stand take their influences from such legends as Genesis, Camel, Pendragon, and IQ, and toss in solid songwriting skills, great musicianship, and strong vocals, to come up with a contemporary classic.
Tunes like "Waiting for Water" and the opening epic "Jurassic Spark" will please just about any prog fan, as guitarist Michael Rank Jensen's melodic solos are just a thing of beauty and go perfectly with the sometimes flashy, but always lush keyboard work of Olov Andersson. On "Waiting for Water", Jensen lets loose with tons of emotional breaks screaming with tone, much like a young Steve Hackett, David Gilmour, or Nick Barrett, while bassist Goran Johnsson's lead vocals are just gorgeous. The relentless and busy drums of Tomas Hurtig guides Jensen's complex guitar lines into the symphonic "Empty Barrels Rattle the Most", a very Genesis sounding instrumental with a very memorable and satisfying melody, plus loads of Mellotron and synths. The closing, seven-part epic "Old Man's Tale" clocks in at 16 minutes, and takes you through a long, winding journey, as all good prog epics should. Featuring haunting vocals, driving rhythms, angular guitar work, and a host of varied keyboard work, this tune is a winner on all fronts. Andersson's extended synth solo on this track just oozes the style of Tony Banks, especially his work on the Genesis classic Trick of the Tail.
Fans of lush, 70's & 80's prog styles can do no wrong with picking up this latest from Grand Stand. This will be a band to watch for sure.