Mood Elevator

Mats Karlsson

Some can think that Hard Rock and Glam Metal scenes in Europe are young, and […]
July 12, 2023
Mats Karlsson - Mood Elevator album cover

Some can think that Hard Rock and Glam Metal scenes in Europe are young, and it's a gross mistake. Of course names with great commercial success as EUROPE serve as a referential frame to understand that this boom of both genres on European lands isn't a free thing. But the age of Hard Rock and Glam Metal are older, especially on Sweden where acts as 220 VOLT were trying their luck since the first half of the 80's. And the band's founder and guitarist Mats Karlsoon presents his second solo album, ""Mood Elevator". Known for his playing on 220 VOLT, on THE SUMMIT and others, it's not a surprise to hear that this album presents a melodic and classical form of Hard Rock with clear influences of the 60s and 70s (on "Beautiful Life", some influences of THE BEATLES on their second era are clear), with that organic and nasty appeal in some moments.

The instrumental technique isn't the core of Mat's work, because the songs are focused on a homogeneous level between the musicians, what means that the songs are more important than the musicians. And it's so good to hear such form of music, organic, filled with a classic and organic appeal, but always alive. The production was done in a way that keeps the sonority clean and defined (so it's not hard to understand what's being expressed on the songs), but with a rough and organic outfit, showing that Mats prefer to use an Old School insight on things. It's obvious that he brought some guests to record with him: Ferdy Doernberg (of Axel Rudi Pell's band), Björn Englen (Yngwie Malmsteen, QUIET RIOT, SOUL SIGN), Björn Höglund (EASY ACTION, THE SUMMIT, HOVEN DROVEN), Lars Ericcson (THE SUMMIT), Hanna Einebrant (SHE REX, DISCO ARCADE), Mike Klemmé (THE SUMMIT, MARMALADE SOUL), Ulf Karlsson, Peter Hermansson, Robert Hellström, and Göran Nyström.

Solo albums usually have a wider range of influences, and on this point, "Mood Elevator" follows the same tendency. But there are moments that are really lovely, as "Beautiful Life" (it's a Hard Rock typical of the 70s with a modern outfit, with excellent guitar riffs and keyboards, and what lovely chorus), "Mood Elevator" (a Bluesy Hard Rock plenty of energy and weight, another excellent chorus and with excellent ambiences created by the Hammond organ), "War Child" (the scent of AOR/Country Rock influences is clear, with excellent vocals and arrangements on bass guitar and drums), "Keeping Time" (a Boogie/Rock 'n' Roll feeling is filling this song, creating accessible melodies), "Big Yellow Taxi" (a version of Mats for an old song of Joni Mitchells, with excellent vocals and with a massive dose of weight in many moments, contrasting with the accessible melodies), "Letters Without Signatures" (this one brings the fans' minds back to the 80s Hard Rock/AOR era), "Magic Wand" (a song made of contrasts between Rocker moments with melodic introspective parts), and "Tipping Point", the ones that are mandatory for a Hard Rock/AOR/'call-it-what-you-want'.

It's great to see that an old Rocker as Mats is still relevant, and "Mood Elevator" is an album that is uncompromised, and for this, a good release.

8 / 10









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"Mood Elevator" Track-listing:

1. Asteroids
2. Beautiful Life
3. Mood Elevator
4. War Child
5. Keeping Time
6. Big Yellow Taxi
7. Kiss of Life
8. Letters Without Signatures
9. Higher Than High
10. Magic Wand
11. Try My Love
12. Tipping Point

Mats Karlsson Lineup:

Mats Karlsson - Guitar, Bass, Vocals
Mike Klemmé - Vocals (Session)
Hanna Einebrant - Vocals (Session)
Ferdy Doernberg - Hammond (Session)
Björn Englen - Bass (Session)
Lars Ericcson - Bass (Session)
Ulf Karlsson - Keyboards (Session)
Björn Höglund - Drums (Session)
Peter Hermansson - Backing Vocals
Robert Hellström - Backing Vocals
Göran Nyström - Backing Vocals

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