HEARTBREAK RADIO (Jim Jidhed/Mikael Erlandsson) – On Air [Japanese Edition +4]
HEARTBREAK RADIO is a Swedish / Scandinavian AOR project started in 2004 with the participation of Tommy Denander, Mikael Erlandsson and others, releasing an enjoyable self-titled debut the next year.
Organise the next effort took several years but finally arrived. Entitled “On Air“, this Japanese edition is really worth to have as it includes 4 bonus tracks.
Heartbreak Radio is conducted by songwriters, musicians and producers Claes Andreasson (Last Autumn’s Dream) and Johan Axelsson, who also plays the keyboards & synths and contribute backing vocals.
The project line-up of today consists of Mats Johanson (soloist guitar on Asia’s Aqua album), Berra Holmgren (of Ace Of Base, on bass), Peter Strandberg on drums (Jeff Scott Soto band) alongside Axelsson himself on keys and a selected horn section.
Erlandsson was asked to provide vocals once again but this time the cream on the Swedish scene performs leads on different tracks: Jim Jidhed (Alien), Pierre Weinsberg (Elevener, Denander’s Radioactive) and two other Swedish super-vocal talents, Henrik Baath (Dark Water) and solo artist Martin Gabriel.
Heartbreak Radio is focused on ’80s L.A. AOR with the typical FM rock approach of these golden years, complete with soaring melodies, catchy rhythms and breezy sounds akin TOTO, Ambrosia, Kenny Loggins or Airplay to name some.
As examples; “You Are Love” is a mid tempo AOR monster with a killer bridge that instantly brings to mind aural images of Airplay or David Roberts, with a velveteen hook to boot.
Songs like “Angeline” featuring Erlandsson on vocals recall Toto circa their Joseph Williams era, whilst “My Heart’s Just Missing You” is prime L.A. West Coast AOR that will delight fans of this musical style.
But the band also rocks in the early eighties Journey vein with ripping cuts like “Love On Fire” and “Live Out Of Love”: these two numbers alone could have sold out arenas once upon a time, with the latter revolving around a nifty guitar motif that would make Neal Schon proud.
One of the highlights though, is the ballad that closes out the regular release: “You Don’t Love Me Anymore”. It features the surprisingly rich and fully measured vocal work by Henrik Baath of Swedish prog metal band Dark Water. Certainly not a name you’d expect on an album like this and he shines here, one of the most elaborated tracks of the entire disc.
As said, “On Air” will be released next Feb. 22 in Europe, but if you are anxious you can get the Japanese version right now featuring 4 bonuses: the jumpin’ and breezy AOR tune “MLI”, plus three remixed versions of Heartbreak Radio’s debut.
Fans of old school, classic ’80s AOR with a touch of L.A. Westcoast in the slower numbers rejoice: “On Air” is a delicious piece of work with excellent songwriting, smooth instrumentation, great vocal performances and superb polished production.
A mandatory listen for any fan of these genres.
01. Love On Fire
03. You Are Love
04. Turn On Love
05. I Will Love You
06. Live Out Of Love
07. All Over The World
08. My Heart’s Just Missing You
09. Keep Kickin’ It Back Again
10. You Don’t Love Me Anymore
11. MLI (Japanese bonus track)
12. Hard Rock City (Japanese bonus track)
13. Let Me Have Your Heart Again (Japanese bonus track)
14. Knockin’ On Hells Door (Japanese bonus track)
Jim Jidhed (ALIEN)
Mikael Erlandsson (LAST AUTUMN’S DREAM)
Pierre Weinsberg (ELEVENER, RADIOACTIVE)
Henrik Baath (DARK WATER)
Martin Gabriel (solo)
Drums: Peter Strandberg (Jeff Scott Soto band)
Bass: Berra Holmgren
Guitars: Mats Johanson (Asia)
Keyboards: Johan Axelsson
Horns: Albin Grahn, Arvid Ingberg, Martin Svanström
Backing Vocals: Emelie Axelsson, Ulrik Arturén, Mikael Erlandsson, Claes Andreasson, Johan Axelsson, Per Wockatz, Pierre Wensberg