Sweden has been the land of AOR and Melodic Rock for quite a while now and have now produced another band of that ilk (or should that be elk?!) in the guise of Perfect Plan. Formed in late 2014, they have now signed to Frontiers, who were attracted by the mixture of classic Scandinavian AOR (a la Work of Art, Treat, Europe) with, to my ears, non-Scandi influences Whitesnake, Foreigner, and Journey for good measure. Featuring singer Kent Hilli together with Rolf Nordström on guitar, P-O Sedin on bass, Fredrik Forsberg on drums and Leif Ehlin on keyboards. The band are set on a road where to stand out from the crowd, they need to bring something distinct to the genre. Their debut album, All Rise, shows that they certainly have the capability with a strong and proficient group of musicians and a vocalist who can stand up to any of the current crop.
On first listen, the impression is that Mick Jones now fronts Whitesnake. However, repeated listens will unearth some gems: ‘Gone Too Far’ is one of these with its more blues-based grounding. The guitar/keys melody is almost Purplish in its execution and has a couple of delightful solos from Nordström. ‘What Goes Around’ is another good ‘un – a bit of funk overlays the main riff and the whole evokes Glenn Hughes doing Extreme… but better. ‘Never Surrender’, has a JL Turner feel to it, but the structure and the multi-tracked vocals of Hilli takes it to classic status. ‘1985’ sounds as if that is exactly where it was born… again, the guitar/keys interplay is a standout. OK, it has a bit of a Wild Boys echo to it, but it’s still great fun. Closing with ‘Heaven In Your Eyes’ confirms their promise with its made for a stadium atmosphere.
This is a hugely enjoyable album with strong compositions and performances from all involved. They do have their own sound and identity, but I’d like to think (and look forward to) an even more individual, cohesive set next time out. Sounds like a Perfect Plan!