Degreed - 'Love, Life, Loss' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 05, 2011    
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Not the sort of album anyone should overlook.

Like labelmates All I Know, Degreed were also formed in 2005, this time in Stockholm, Sweden by four students of the Conservatory of Music. Featuring brothers Robin and Mats Ericsson (bass/vocals and drums respectively), their cousin Micke Jansson (keys) and guitarists Daniel Johansson and Jesper Adefelt, Degreed play a kind of modern melodic rock that I can really appreciate, full of melody, sharp guitar riffs, excellent vocals and a keyboard player who adds class to every song.

As the album kicks off with the tight instrumentation of 'B.O'D' I was quite taken aback by how powerful and melodic Degreed are, but when Robin Ericsson's vocals come in it's actually Eclipse singer Eric Martensson that I'm most reminded of. Many of the tunes are upbeat and really rock, and some of the melodies that you would usually find played on a guitar are actually keyboards, along with some scintillating synth solos and tasteful fills that give the music a pompy edge. The huge keyboard melodies give the light and shade of 'Arms Of Misery' an interesting alternative besides the angry guitars and big chorus, with 'Just Imagine', 'A Little Bit' and 'Catch The Feeling' also benefitting from this approach.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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'Story Of Life' and 'Catch The Feeling' are the most commercial sounding, straddling the divide between hard rock and pop, whilst 'My Fall' starts off like more of the same but morphs into an offbeat quirky style with inventive rhythms. My highpoint would have to be 'Color Me' with its tight staccato verse, slower chorus and more of those great 80s keyboard fills, and the only track I'm not completely sold on is the closing ballad 'By Your Side' simply because it repeats the title too much. That's a small gripe because the twelve tracks on this debut album are uniformly strong and the superb mix of guitars and keys, along with Robin Ericsson's passionate vocals, make this a joy to listen to. Incidentally, there's a cover version on this album and if I gave you a thousand guesses you wouldn't get it. How about a spirited run through of 'Captured By The Moment' from Steve Perry's 'Street Talk' album? The vocal may not match the passion of the original but it's an interesting rendering all the same.

With releases of the standard of Degreed and All I Know, Melodic Rock Records has got off to a great start, but if these are the bands that other labels are passing on I suggest they need better A & R guys. 'Love, Life, Loss' is not the sort of album anyone should overlook.

Phil Ashcroft

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