OSUKARU – Transition
An appropriate title as "Transition" from Sweden’s melodic hard rock/ AOR act Osukaru contains a mixture of older songs re-recorded along with new material. Their last album "Triumphant" didn’t sit well with me, probably due to the weak vocal performance from singers Fredrik Werner and Cecilia Camuii. Guitarist/ keyboardist Oz Osukaru went to work crafting strong material that pushes these vocalists in a better light, and a result songs like "Strangled Emotions" and "Tell Me You’ll Stay" are rich in harmonies, hooks, and 80’s nostalgia: everything from Foreigner and Journey to H.E.A.T. and Roxette comes to mind.
Jens Björk’s saxophone work on opener "Arrow" plus occasional "Lovin’ Every Minute of It" similarities makes "Out of Touch" two of my favorites of the 11 tracks for "Transition". It seems like the band took to heart a lot of the criticism from their previous work and as a result this album has more focus and solid performances all around. Fiery guitar work in all the right places, bright keyboard splashes, subtle use of lower range melodies and comfortable choruses – those are the hallmarks of a great melodic hard rock/ AOR-oriented artist, and Osukaru have put themselves back on the right track.
Proving that you can make a marked improvement in a reasonably short period of time, "Transition" sets up the band for a healthy future and many will be psyched to hear future offerings.