Scott Gross - Inside Musicast.com
"It's The Journey" by Andreas Aleman (2012)
Swedish soul singer/songwriter/ keyboardist/producer Andreas Aleman grabbed my attention in 2009 with his debut disc called THIS IS LIFE. It became clear right away that this cat meant business with baritone vocals that left me wondering if this is what Ray Charles might have sounded like if he was born in the 70’s. The songs had such great range and attention to detail.
Bring us up to 2012 and this blue eyed soul disciple of Ray Charles and Michael McDonald finds himself right in the middle of an incredible wave of extraordinary music coming out of Sweden and Norway from other artists like Ole Børud, Work Of Art, State Cows, Dirty Loops, Johannes Zetterberg and more with his sophomore release entitled IT’S THE JOURNEY.
Andreas Aleman has triumphantly risen to the occasion with a sophisticated follow-up album that’s sleeker than the first and delivered with pure lean muscle. The production sounds lush with funky keyboards, pocket rhythms, precise bass work, stabbing horns, soaring guitars and amazing musical and vocal arrangements. The party roars out of the gate on the track “Power” with its gospel feel that’ll make you an immediate believer. The album then segues into the smooth shuffle groove of “If It’s A Dream” that features classy horn arrangements and insane fretwork from guitarist Mikael Berg Andersson. “When It Happens” continues the ride with its mid-tempo story about holding out for real love. The pace moves back into high gear with the tasty keyboard and horn intro licks that build into the feel good chorus on “Right Out Loud”. The common thread throughout is the warm, relaxed vocals of Andreas Aleman who weaves an effortless spell over these great compositions. Other stand outs on this “no filler” disc include the beautiful “Helplessly In Love”, the reggae vibe of “Put Some Trust In Me” and the low down soul celebration of “Keep On Keepin’ Funky”.
Andreas produced and arranged IT’S THE JOURNEY and co-wrote 9 of the 10 songs, mostly with principle collaborator Brian Hobbs. Additional songwriters were Adam Fietz, Jonas Andre, Ron Boustead, Peter Bertilsson and Steffan Gunnarsson. Musicians on the project include Christer Jansson, Anders Hedlund & Mikael Wikman on drums and percussion, Tom Beimel & Thobias Gabrielsson on bass, Mikael Berg Andersson & Andy Pfeiler on guitar, Stefan Gunnarsson on synth, Patrik Skogh on trumpet, Wojtek Goral on sax and Staffan Findin on trombone. Backing vocals came courtesy of Anna Hall, Louise Palmstierna, Pelle Ankarberg, Peter Getz, Anders Von Hofsten, Britta Berstrom, Greta Folkesson and Suzanne Tingwall. Andreas Aleman contributed lead/bg vocals and keyboards.
IT’S THE JOURNEY is a huge accomplishment and the kind of disc that will get people within earshot to ask you, “Who is THIS?” I know because it’s happened to me too many times to count already.