Work of Art- Artwork

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nearly 14 years after their initial formation, Sweden based soft rock band Work of Art released their debut album Lift in 2006. Their style was very 80’s influenced and had similarities to Journey and Toto in both the vocals and instruments. Two years have passed since Lift, and now the group is back with their sophomore release Artwork. And although there have been a few minor changes to Work of Art’s style, overall the material on this album sounds fairly similar to the last one which could be a good or bad thing depending on what listeners are looking for.

Imagine Work of Art as a cross between Journey and Toto with a little 1980’s pop rock thrown in for good measure if you’ve never listened to them before. If you’re familiar with either of the aforementioned bands or the 80’s brand of light rock music, then Artwork should instantly create a sense of nostalgia. But although the instrumentals are extremely close to that of their inspirations, there is still plenty to like about this release. Sure, compared to the other artists that Locomotive Records has licensed in recent years Work of Art is arguably the softest, but they do have some catchy, light riffs that will satisfy anyone who still has a taste for this style. The biggest flaw with the instrumentals would be that they don’t seem to have changed much when compared to the group’s previous release, and it certainly would help Work of Art to find some stylistic elements that will set them apart.

Vocalist Lars Sasfund has a very melodic singing voice that is sure to reinforce the Journey vibe that listeners get from Artwork. As one might expect, at times his style can come off as a little cheesy but this is more due to the nature of the music itself. The material here is often very sappy, but the lyrical content does come off as mature and focused. I wouldn’t necessarily call Sasfund the next big voice in soft rock, but his singing is definitely strong enough to attract fans of the genre. And at the very least, his vocals definitely enhance the accessibility of the band’s music making album one almost anyone can get into.

Artwork is a solid follow up to Work of Art’s debut, but it doesn’t feel as though the group has taken any steps forward. Instead, they have simply remained at the same level as before, which is fine for an immediate follow up but could hurt if there isn’t a sense of progression somewhere down the line. Work of Art does still sound a little too close to their inspirations, and this is causing them to be a good rather than great group. But with a little more originality, this could definitely be a band that could generate a large fan base.

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