Swedish band Staggerwing (Peo Petterson and Dan Bostrum) combine a hybrid of retro-prog and melodic rock, switching during its run-time, blending quite seamlessly throughout.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: Staggerwing II
LABEL: POP Productions
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Sweden
LINEUP: Peo Petterson – lead vocals, lead guitar * Dan Bostrom – lead guitars, lead vocals * Hakan Anderson – rickenbacker bass, moog taurus, lead vocals * Axel Karl’sson-Kraft – hammond m2, pipe organ, ms 10, mellotron, lead vocals * Kjell Anderson – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Ego Volantes-Soldier * 02 Lean To The Right * 03 Small House * 04 Mystery Unravelled * 05 Stuck In The Flow. * 06 Run For Your Life * 07 Souls Of Babylon * 08 Midnight Woman * 09 Sail On
WEBLINKS: Site Link
The Swedish band Staggerwing is comprised of two prominent members Peo Petterson and Dan Bostrom, both previously with the band Kings And Dreams, reviewed here in our 2014 section. Petterson goes way back in time due to his solo work plus stints with Christian metallers Leviticus and hair metallers Axia.
Staggerwing is another proposition altogether. Its a hybrid of retro-prog and melodic rock, switching between the two modes during its run-time. Neither genre overtakes the other, they blend quite seamlessly throughout.
Firstly, the band name is named after a 1930’s bi-plane, much like the one you see on the cover. Secondly, the band came into being a few years ago (though not quite sure when) and released their debut in 2019 on the Pop Productions label, which I believe is Peo Petterson’s own label.
The 9min 47 sec opener ‘Ego Volantes-Soldier’ is an unusual track to kick off an album. You won’t find a 9 min track on any AOR album this side of the black stump. And what a corker it is too. Organs and synth work dominate from the outset. Gotta love it! I haven’t heard an organ dominate like a boss since the first Boston album! How long ago was that? Lol.
Bringing it back to the town square is the very catchy and commercial ‘Lean To The Right’. This is the sort of song the Republican Party should be asking permission to use in their election rallies. ‘Small House’ is a boisterous rocker, more about guitars and less the keyboards. This helps balance up the album. ‘Mystery Unravelled’ follows in the same direction, and so far with four tracks in, it’s sounding good.
‘Stuck In The Flow’ has an old school vibe, with swirling synths in the background. When they go down this path Staggerwing sound infinitely more interesting. ‘Run For Your Life’ is a perky rocker with some organ overkill just for good measure.
‘Souls Of Babylon’ places an emphasis on a bluesy backbone, it’s riff-based mostly, but when they let the shackles loose as on ‘Midnight Woman’ is when Staggerwing come into their own. Think Deep Purple from their Mk1 or Mk2 era for comparisons. Brilliant. Staggerwing concludes the album with the 8-minute ballad ‘Sail On’, this one is of epic quality and glides nicely, though unfortunately there is no climaxing guitar solo to wrap both the song and the album up in one final flourish.
Initially, I was quite excited by the opening stanza of this album, hoping that it would maintain its profile all the way, unfortunately it doesn’t. As mentioned, there are traces of retro-prog plus melodic rock, but neither comes out a winner. The sound is caught between the two, making for a musical potpourri that doesn’t quite hold. Still, for those willing to take a chance, take a listen on their Bandcamp page (listed above) and make your own conclusions.
Lean To The Right