Fashion be damned! Swedish melodic rockers Streetlight champion a very commercial blend of AOR and melodic rock on their 2023 album ‘Ignition’. Capturing a perfect sound that celebrates some of the scene’s greatest bands and influences from those 1987-89 glory days, it’s an album packed with massive choruses, but comes with an even bigger concession to brilliantly played, shiny sounding keyboards. There are few musical surprises, but a whole world of giant hooks will ensure lovers of old school AOR will find a near instant liking of the Streetlight sound.

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On their debut album (2020’s ‘The One’), Arctic Rain largely specialised in classic sounding melodic rock, but weren’t afraid to temper a big chorus with a slightly harder edge on occasion. That record presented a selection of very 80s sounding songs in tandem with some great guitar work, and as such, provided a huge amount of entertainment for lovers of bands like Alien, Last Autumn’s Dream and Miss Behaviour.

Their second LP, ‘Unity’, is a worthy follow up to a great debut, even though it sometimes takes a very different approach. Despite a heavier sound in places, the big choruses retain the same melodic charm as before, and on at least half of the songs, there are still some very broad melodies shining through. This is a record that fans will still enjoy, but it is also the kind of record that shows the band pushing forward.

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PERFECT PLAN – Brace For Impact

In the year or so leading up to this third release from Perfect Plan, vocalist Kent Hilli kept himself more than busy. Considered by some to be the great white hope of melodic rock in the twenty first century, between 2021 and 2022, he not only issued two solo releases – an album of original material and an EP of covers – but also became the new frontman for AOR legends Giant, appearing on their very enjoyable ‘Shifting Time’ album, and even found time to contribute vocals to the second Restless Spirits album.

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