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Miss Behaviour - 'Last Woman Standing' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/bf/ec/40/993_MissBehaviourLastWomanStanding_1298063711.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 18, 2011    
 
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It's been a great start to 2011 and Miss Behaviour are one of the main reasons for that.

Being old-school to the core, one of the things I miss about days gone by is that internet forums and pre-release soundbytes leave very few surprises in the music world and almost no chance of stumbling on something good without having heard about it first. However, when the latest batch of releases from the impressive and rapidly growing Avenue Of Allies label dropped through my letterbox, I stuck this little gem from young Swedish quartet Miss Behaviour into the player without any pre-conceived ideas. Somehow I'd managed to miss their 2006 debut album 'Heart Of Midwinter' completely so I can't gauge exactly how far they've come since then, all I know is that 'Last Woman Standing' is certainly worthy of your time if you like quality melodic rock/AOR. 

The band were formed in 2003 by keyboard player Henrik Sproge and guitarist Erik Heikne, but this present line-up was only completed after the release of their debut when ex-Shineth duo Sebastian Roos (vocals/bass) and Anders Berlin (drums) arrived on the scene. On the evidence of this excellent album it's keyboard player Sproge who exerts the biggest influence, writing or co-writing all eleven of the songs and drenching every song in the kind of pompy keyboard sounds that haven't been heard on a hard rock album since White Sister and Giuffria were still making records. There's a grandiose sound running through all the songs from upbeat opener '1988' to the last notes of the pomp-tastic '11th Hour', although I need to state that Heikne's tasteful and powerful guitar does actually share equal billing throughout. Roos has a great soaring vocal style with just a hint of an accent, but his voice is just so strong that he adds sparkle to what were already great melody lines and infectious choruses.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Whilst the likes of 'Cynthia', 'Give Her A Sign', 'Taking Hostage' and 'Emergency' are perfect examples of the band's appealing style and boast hooks that will stay with you for days, they even manage to branch out from the high-energy melodic rock sometimes and deliver something even more epic. The ballad 'Til We Meet Again' has shades of old House Of Lords at their most dramatic, whilst the swirling synths of 'Living The Dream' and 'Average Hero' provide plenty of high drama, but there are a couple of occasions where the band inject a bit of seriousness into the equation and take things to whole other level. 'Perfect War' for example still retains the hooks and melodies but adds a little bit of menace to the vocal and the instrumentation, not to mention the stirring guitar solos by Erik Heikne and guest Roland Grapow, whilst the title track is a full seven minutes of angsty pomp with adventurous arrangements, a guitar and keyboard duel, guest female vocals from Kajsa Berg and even a few tempo changes.

'Last Woman Standing' is one of a handful of albums I've heard recently where you're waiting for the filler tracks and they never come. It's also impressive that you can't really pinpoint who the band sound like even though they aren't really doing anything new, which can't be a bad thing. Self-produced by Sproge and Heikne to a high standard, this warm sounding collection of superb songs wipes the floor with many of the bigger name melodic rock releases of recent months. It's been a great start to 2011 and Miss Behaviour are one of the main reasons for that.

Phil Ashcroft

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