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After The Flower Kings took a break, the singer, Hasse Fröberg, decided it was time for a project more suited to his style, which would contain only his song-writing material. This year, we got the second installation of the Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion band, called Powerplay.
If you know Hasse's ideas from The Flower Kings, you already get a sense of what Powerplay sounds like. But only slightly. There’s way more to it than that. We still get Hasse’s down-to-earth, simple melodies, which are built upon into full-fledged prog rock structures – and impressive ones at that. At the core of the album still remain Hasse’s melodies, which are as good as ever, but given the full prog treatment, with wonderful instrumental segments to rival the best Flower Kings workouts, and especially carefully chosen structural development.
Some songs are left in their “rough” form, without all the prog accessories, and they work just fine as well, like more power pop prog. Even here, we are able to observe Hasse’s various talents in coping with different styles, like soft ballads, power ballads, soul, pop, hard rock and so on.
The music generally moves along at a very healthy pace. If you give this album a chance, the melodies and tempo will surely brighten the day and the music will get stuck in your head for days to come. You get the same kind of positive approach as with The Flower Kings, but Hasse's approach to music is way more basic than Roine's and you don't get any unnecessary complicating of the original melodies, just the arrangements are tinkered with and led in all sorts of directions.
We all know Hasse's voice from The Flower Kings, which works well in contrast to Roine's harsher style. Here, Hasse's soulful voice comes to the fore and he even expands to a hard rock edge, taking on an ominous Glenn Hughes like role, where soul and hard rock meet as perfect lovers.
Powerplay’s title should just about explain the album to you. It is a powerful album, full of elegant and powerful prog music with a great uplifting tempo and song-writing. I think Hasse’s talents might be underutilised in The Flower Kings if he can come up with an album like this, but I suppose we can be hopeful for more work from Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion.
8.5 out of 10.