Treat - Organized Crime

Treat – Organized Crime

84 / 100

Treat were now signed to Vertigo, ‘Organized Crime’ was a decent album, but the band were still operating in the shadow of Europe.

Written by: gdmonline

ALBUM: Organized Crime
LABEL: Vertigo
SERIAL: 838 929-2
YEAR: 1989
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Anders Wikstrom – guitars, backing vocals, keyboards * Robert Ernlund – lead vocals * Jamie Borger – drums, backing vocals * Patrick Appelgren – keyboards, synthesizer, piano, backing vocals * Joakim Larsson – bass, backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Ready For The Taking * 02 Party All Over * 03 Keep Your Hands To Yourself * 04 Stay Away * 05 Conspiracy * 06 Mr. Heartache * 07 Gimme One More Night * 08 Get You On The Run * 09 Home Is Where Your Heart Is * 10 Fatal Smile * 11 Hunger



Like many pundits here, I was a huge fan of these of these Swedes during the mid 80’s. Not so much the debut album ‘Scratch And Bite’, but definitely the second ‘The Pleasure Principle’ while the third album ‘Dreamhunter’ is just killer AOR, one of the best albums of 1987. And so we venture onto their fourth: 1989’s ‘Organized Crime’. It ended up being a commercial disaster, and by this stage, the band was leaking personnel, as it had done from the start with a turnstile membership. On this album, newbies were Patrick Applegren on keyboards and Joe Larsson on bass.

Treat were now signed to Vertigo, ‘Organized Crime’ was a decent album, but the band were still operating in the shadow of Europe, and could not generate the same level of success as their countrymen. Treat had also changed to new management based out of Germany. But promises about new deals and contracts and increased exposure in the US market all came to nothing. All smoke and mirrors, vapor, fog and thin air. The changing tide in music was already underway, and fans were beginning to see change happening throughout the industry. Some bands got caught in the backwash.

The Songs

Musically, the material here is at the tougher edge of melodic hard rock. They’ve left the glossy AOR of ‘Dreamhunter’ behind, and headed off in a direction led by Americans Winger and other bands in that mould. This is not a 100% swap-over, but it is apparent in places. This is certainly the case on opener ‘Ready For The Taking’. It just smells of Winger, that much is obvious.

As you can tell by the song-title, ‘Party All Over’ isn’t the most original name for a tune, fairly generic and uninspiring unfortunately. Our Swedish friends continue their love affair with all things American, with ‘Keep Your Hands To Yourself’ an unashamed attempt to cash in on a bluesy hard rock style that was all over the airwaves in the US during 1989. ‘Walk Away’ continues in this direction too, like a Swedish version of Tangier.

Without doubt, the album’s top moment is the superb ‘Conspiracy’. I’ve played this song often over the years, usually at the expense of the remainder of this album, so good that it is. ‘Mr. Heartache’ sounds very similar to ‘Dancin’ On The Edge’ from their previous album ‘Dreamhunter’. It’s good but not great, if you know what I mean. ‘Gimme One More Night’ is the obvious power-ballad, with anthem credentials and shout-outs on the chorus.

They also decided to do another version of their 1985 song ‘Get You On The Run’. Quite why I’m sure, but I’ll guess it was a business decision. ‘Home Is Where Your Heart Is’ is a decent sing-along track that could’ve slotted in quite nicely on ‘Dreamhunter’. I quite liked ‘Fatal Smile’, which gives a suitable nod and wink in the direction of German bands like Roko and Craaft. The Winger copy-cattisms continue on the closer ‘Hunger’, and by this stage, I have navigated the entire album ever, instead of playing the one track (‘Conspiracy’) over and over. Sad I know..

In Summary

Despite a small headlining tour to Japan during early 1990, nothing really materialised for Treat, the band’s management seemingly unable (unwilling more likely) to do constructive work on their behalf. The departure of Robert Ernlund was nearly the final straw, though Wikstrom hung in for a couple of more years, but to no avail, finally calling it a day in early 1993.

As we know, Treat did reform in the noughties, and are now one of Frontiers Music. The world moves in very strange ways so it would seem. According to the Discogs Reissue List (above), this album hasn’t seen much reissue action over the years. A couple of Japanese releases during the 90’s, but that’s about it. I do have this on CD but I’d be interested to know if this has been picked up by anyone in recent times. Time to go on a treasure hunt!


Treat – 2006 Conspiracy (Live, Sweden Rock Festival)

Treat - Conspiracy

Entire Album (Select Tracks)
Playlist: Treat - Organized Crime - Full Album 1989
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