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Stage Dolls: Always

Stage Dolls have a long history that sees that band name stretch back over 25 years. Throughout that time the Norwegian trio have maintained a remarkably high standard of releases that whilst maybe not many in number, have always been at the forefront of the melodic hard rocking power pop scene. Its six years since the band's last release Get A Life and Always picks up exactly where that album left off, although it does add one or two little additions of its own.

Still strongly in evidence is the smooth guitar and keyboard trading that the likes of "Better Off Pretty" and the smouldering "Taillights" which sound so natural and beguiling. Torstein Flakne's sumptuous six string playing seduces and charms at every turn and his vocals are still favourably comparable to Bryan Adams with that rough edged melodic sting that he uses to such good effect. Of the harder hitting tracks Adams can again be used as a marker as "Saturday Night" has more than a slight "Kids Wanna Rock" vibe to it. "Rollin'" on the other hand swaggers along on a tremendous bass rumble from Terje Storli and as expected both he and Morten Skogstad on drums put in faultless performances on every number.

If big choruses and hooks are your bag, Stage Dolls dish them out in spades as well. "Always" with its huge backing vocals and stomping beat has you moving and grooving uncontrollably and Flakne really leads from the front with his guitar work , however it's his voice that is absolutely spot on, full, rich and pitch perfect. Looking for something a little more refined? Then the acoustic plucking and glorious harmony vocal (shared with Mari Myrholt) of closing track "My Strangest Friend" or the Mellencamp like bluster of "Where The Blacktop Ends" should be right up your street. Top all of that off with the best track on the album "Highway's Open", with a chorus that Def Leppard have been trying to write for over a decade and a fantastic little guitar motif and Always becomes a melodic album of the highest order.

Stage Dolls may not be the most prolific band around, however with albums as good as this their release are welcome...Always!

Track Listing
01 Always
02 Raining On A Summers Day
03 Rollin'
04 Highway's Open
05 Eye Of My Heart
06 Better Off Pretty
07 Taillights
08 Saturday Night
09 Where The Blacktop Ends
10 My Strangest Friend

Added: February 12th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Band's Web Site
Hits: 2685
Language: english

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