GRAND ILLUSION - review added 26th October 2011
Album Review: Prince Of Paupers (2011)
For fans of: Hard Rock
Swedish act Grand Illusion return for their second album since the hiatus that followed their superb 2004 release "Ordinary Just Won't Do". Last year's "Brand New World" was good, but not up to the standards of their biggie. "Prince Of Paupers" is a few notches better, but still not on the hallowed ground I was hoping for.
It has a huge production and sublime performances (especially from the magical-voiced Peter Sundell) but quite a few of the songs aren't as catchy or as 'pomp' as this band can be at their best. OJWD was fabulous because it was utterly over the top. Since then the band have reined in their excesses and veered towards more of a straight-ahead hard rock style, albeit one with a theatrical bent. What they need to do is push the boundaries and sound like Hollywood, Broadway and a drag show all rolled into one tinsel-tassled package.
Guests like Steve Lukather and Gregg Bissonette, plus the three main band members make a stunningly compelling argument sound-wise, and songs like 'Gates Of Fire', 'So Faraway', 'Eyes Of Ice', 'Gone', 'Believe In Miracles' and 'Under The Wire' remind me what this band is all about, but the magic is still only partially on show.
This is a really enjoyable album with amazing performances, but it's also a tiny bit of a let down when you compare it to what these guys are really capable of. Good, definitely worth a purchase, but still someway shy of 2004 masterpiece.
Overall (Not An Average Of The Above):
01. Gates Of Fire
02. Better Believe It
03. Prince Of Paupers
04. So Faraway
05. St. Theresa's Love
06. Through This War
07. Eyes Of Ice
09. Believe In Miracles
10. On And On
11. Under The Wire
12. Winds Of Change