Review: Stoneflower – Finally
AOR Heaven (May 15th 2020)
Reviewer: David Pearce
Stoneflower are a melodic rock band from Norway who got together in 1996. They had some success with their first album ‘Crack a Little Smile’ but despite having started work on another album, the band split in 2010 when singer Frode Henriksen moved to another part of the country. Founder member and lead guitarist Tom Sennerud finished the album, ‘Destination Anywhere’ as a solo project. Following great reviews he contacted fellow founder member and bassist Svenn Huneide and they reformed the band in 2014 and recruited a new singer, John Masaki who had success in Norwegian Idol. The current line-up was completed by drummer Geir Johnny Huneide, Svenn’s brother. Now, 24 years after the band started they are ready to release just their second official album, called ‘Finally’!
The album opener ‘Gonna Let You Go’ starts with a superb riff and goes into Masaki’s melodic vocals which sail along over the top of Sennerud’s virtuoso guitar playing. Their melodic rock stylings sound fresh and urgent and indicate the previously untapped well of talent in this band. ‘What Can Be Done’ is an 80s style AOR track that sounds like a cross between a Huey Lewis tune and a Foreigner style vocal. The engine room of this track is the combination of the Huneide brothers on bass and drums who drive it forward with real power.
‘Believing’ has a start that reminds me of Lionel Richie’s All Night Long and shows off Masaki’s soulfulness before building to a real singalong chorus that will be great live when they take the album out on the road. ‘Calling All Stations’ has a Europe feel to it and is a song that shows how the band complement each other, creating a song that builds and builds becoming one of the standout songs on the album. ‘Kaylee’ has a really mellow tune complemented by a cleverly restrained vocal that makes me think of summer days.
‘The Devil Never Cries’ by contrast gets straight into a driving guitar riff and a powerful vocal that would be a great soundtrack for the next Rocky movie! ‘Shivering Hands’ is a song that has gorgeous lyrics covering the life of a girl as she grows from childhood to old age. It is a genuinely different song that tells a beautiful story and is definitely my favourite song on the album. Next is the title track ‘Finally’ takes up what is almost certainly the band’s story as Masaki sings that have ‘finally found where I want to be’.
‘Through The Fire’ is another great example of Stoneflower’s superb lyrics which really lift this band above most of their contemporaries. They take familiar situations and rock music subjects and give them a genuinely different spin. ‘How Does Tt Feel’ is a break up song that sounds very reminiscent of REO Speedwagon and showcases the tightness of a band who really understand and complement each other.
‘Fall’, the final track features superb piano accompaniment from Bjørn Ole Rasch and a soulful, soaring vocal from Masaki. It is a fine end to a marvellous album. Despite being veterans of the scene Stoneflower sound fresh and vibrant. Just don’t leave it another 20 years before you record another album!