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Arkado – Never Say Never

Never Say Never
by Mike McMahan at 17 March 2020, 8:55 PM

ARKADO, originally formed in 1983 in Odarka, Sweden (near Helsinborg) as BB2 (BETTER BE TOGETHER), will release their new studio album “Never Say Never” on AOR Heaven 27 March of this year. They have a very distinct and melodic European sound, seeming to draw inspiration from acts such as EUROPE and others of the radio friendly fare from the mid to late eighties. They also seemed to draw support for this effort from a sold-out live performance in Helsinborg in 2018. From their Facebook biography, their motto seems to be “Musicality with all out hooks and big backing vocals is a red line in our music.”

The album opens on a positive note with “So Bad,” which is a power chord driven rocker out of the gate. The song is full of melody and musical craftsmanship, with Lindstrand’s vocals taking the forefront. He is a very capable singer, and the entire band performance on this track really shines. There is a fantastic guitar fill at the tip end of this tune that is also rather noteworthy.

Next up is “To Leave It All Behind.” This song was kind of a disappointment to me, opening with and repeating a rather thin sounding keyboard line throughout. Everything else is still in place, however, and the song resonates with that same melodic fervor.

There are a few other real highlights on this record. The title track, “Never Say Never” is a beautiful guitar driven ballad, also featuring a grand vocal from Lindstrand and hit worthy hooks all over it. Also of note is “If We Are To Last,” which, in another day and time, would put these guys over the top as far as radio airplay is concerned. Everything about this one screams “hit song”…except for the unfortunate timing. Again, great musicianship and technical ability to spare are on display.

ARKADO is a good band. They are very proficient in every musical sense and the production team around them has done an amazing job with the sound of this record. My one problem is that they seem to fall into that “vanilla” sound that you sometimes hear; some of the songwriting being a little on the thin side on some of the tracks and the memorability factor falling away due to it. If you are a fan of the genre, it’s definitely for you.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 7
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. So Bad
2. To Leave It All Behind
3. Never Say Never
4. Don’t Rape The Nature
5. Walk Your Way
6. If We Are To Last
7. My Hometown
8. She’s So Fine
9. Eagle
10. Carry My Heart
11. Never Say Never Again
Phillip Lindstrand – Lead Vocal/ Guitar
Mats Nilsson – Guitar
Martin Kirschner – Guitar
Mikael Skafar – Drums/ Backing Vocals
Bernt Lundgren – Bass
Mikael Svensson – Keyboards/ Backing Vocals
Record Label: AOR Heaven


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