Art Of Illusion is the fusion of songwriter/producer Anders Rydholm, from the band Grand Illusion, and singer Lars Safsund, from the band Work Of Art.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Art Of Illusion
ALBUM: X Marks The Spot
LABEL: AOR Heaven
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Lars Safsund – lead vocals, additional keyboards, production * Anders Rydholm – bass, keyboards, rhythm guitar, production * Jay Graydon, Muris Varajic, Kristian Larsen, Pelle Holmberg and Daniel Rydholm – guitars * Frank ‘Frallan’ Nilsson – drums * Per Svensson – backing vocals * Tony Paoletta – steel guitar
TRACK LISTING: 01 Wild And Free * 02 Run * 03 My Loveless Lullaby * 04 Waltz For The Movies * 05 4 AM * 06 Go * 07 Snakebite Charm * 08 Let The Games Begin * 09 A Culinary Detour * 10 Catch You If I Can * 11 Rampant Wildfire * 12 Race Against Time
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What do you get when you fuse two members of the iconic Swedish bands Grand Illusion and Work Of Art together? A new band which sounds like the perfect offspring of the two. The melding is scarily good, and extremely interesting when you dissect it.
Like most readers here would attest, both bands are popular drawcards and have been reviewed here to the max. The hybrid of Grand Illusion‘s symphonic elements coupled with the west coast/AOR of sound of Work Of Art is a match made in heaven.
The flow of the songs on’ X Marks The Spot’ does undulate throughout, mixing it up rather than being grouped by songs that are similar in style and structure.
The album can be grouped into three categories. There are rockier tunes aimed at the melodic rock audience, more expansive tracks with big choir voicings plus a couple of near classical pieces with a theatrical bent.
‘Wild And Free’ kicks us into gear, the plucked guitar lines borrowed from Survivor (think ‘Didn’t Know It Was Love’) but things come to life on the chorus and the solo is hot damn as well. Check the video below. ‘Run’ is surely Work Of Art wearing a different coat. Those cut and thrust guitar riffs are an obvious giveaway, plus the vocal harmonies are a Lars trademark.
‘My Loveless Lullaby’ was the first video released for the album some months ago, its symphonic flavour a captivating hook-in, though the album overall is not. Still those massive choir backing vocals from Per Svensson are majestic. ‘Waltz For The Movies’ is the first change-up, played in a classical sense, with heavy orchestration. Very theatric, and reasonably short on duration too.
‘4 AM’ travels the midtempo route, this one sounds like it was written out of the Nashville songwriting production team, especially with those twangy guitar parts. No complaints from me as I’m partial to that kind of sound.
As you can imagine, things get racy for the suitably titled ‘Go’, perhaps one of my picks on the album. This is AOR that would fit nicely on a Work Of Art or Lionville album. ‘Snakebite Charm’ on the other hand didn’t have the same impact as the other tracks though to be honest there’s nothing inherently wrong with it.
‘Let The Games Begin’ returns to the same symphonic territory as ‘My Loveless Lullaby’ and for me this is where Art Of Illusion excel. Sort of like Grand Illusion lite. ‘A Culinary Detour’ is the second change-up, a tribute to all the foodies out there. All manner of food is mentioned here. To cap it off, Lars sings it in an operatic style. Definitely a send up.
‘Catch You If I Can’ follows ‘Run’ with those tasty cut and thrust guitar riffs to the fore. Gotta love it. ‘Rampant Wildfire’ sees AOI at their toughest, and if you can imagine Lars singing for a band like Seventh Key then this is a close match. The solo is a brief but nifty synth part, my guess played on a Nord. ‘Race Against Time’ concludes as a mostly piano and vocal affair.
The thing I enjoyed the most about ‘X Marks The Spot’ is that there is separation between the songs. There is no blurring between the lines so to speak. The melding of melodic and symphonic rock works for me.
I’ll be listening to this for the next few weeks I expect, as it will alleviate my Grand Illusion cravings, and if you’re a fan of both bands then I know you’ll be checking Art Of Illusion out pronto. At 52 minutes you definitely get value for money. Recommended.
Wild And Free
My Loveless Lullaby
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