Tokyo Storm – 'Optimistic State Of Mind'
I was recently contacted by Ben Green singer of TS. They are an unsigned UK AOR band. Tokyo Storm is a four piece melodic rock band hailing from the West Midlands.
Influenced by bands such as Journey, FM & ELO, the debut album, ‘Optimistic State of Mind’ was the brainchild of Bob Peach (drums) and Joe Bartnicki (guitar) who wrote and recorded the music for the album over a couple of years.
After recruiting Ben Green to sing on the album, they have now been joined by Jason Edwards to play bass on their upcoming live shows.
Do you know what? I’d love to see a label like Frontiers take on a band like TS instead of pushing ‘so called big names’ and giving them oxygen when they should have been culled with a bolt gun in the early 90s. Like BulletBoys for one, and there’s more like this I could mention.
The melodic rock community is saturated with bands from the 80s, who still think it’s the 1980s (it isn’t guys). Or the newer guard - some of which are from the 80s, but never got the chance they deserved, but are making up for lost time now.
I understand the financials in doing this ‘legacy band’ offer. Even if it’s shite, they could probably shift 3-5k with no effort. But, for the legacy to survive, punts have to be taken on some of this ‘new unsigned guard’ of bands.
TS apart from Ben look as if they have been doing the rounds for a fair few years and have clearly paid their dues. What I’ve heard so far is a cracking set of melodic rock songs that would grace any AOR lovers collection.
You wouldn’t think that this thing is self-produced as it’s as good as anything I’ve heard. ‘Optimistic State Of Mind’ sets its AOR stall out immediately. It envelopes you like a blanket, and you’re sucked in by the warm vocals and comfortable feeling that you get from a band that knows what it wants, and wants you to feel. Is this love is as smooth as it comes, a bit Toto, and FM like. Which is no bad place to be. ‘Tune’ gives Joe Bartnicki the chance to show off his guitar skills, no OTT thrill, just simply and very nicely done. ‘Stormy Night’ is a obligatory ballad, with Greens vocals giving enough emotion to make it count. It could easily segue into ‘what becomes of the broken hearted’
‘Kill The Machines’ is a bit harder edged. Green reminds me of someone I can’t quite put my finger on. Shit like this is regular when you’re 51! Got it….on this song he has this Matti Alfonzetti vibe, and that, is not a bad sound by any stretch. ‘Silent Obsession’ is a smooth an AOR ballad that you are likely to hear, they type that could just be triple the length live and would be even more fantastic. The TS boys have set their phasers to ‘stun’ with ‘Fire In Your Eyes’, and it has a great 80s vibe to it. ‘Lady Darkness’ is a bit of a plodder, I was hoping it would build up to a crescendo, but stayed at the same pace throughout. Its not bad, I just wanted a little more out of it. ’Summer feeling’ has a ‘proper’ 80s opening riff, and when its played out like this is when they truly shine. Its over all too soon with the final track, and epic-length ‘Signals’. Just because its long doesn’t guarantee that its great. The first couple of eight minutes are just too incidental. I was expecting ’something’ and it constantly failed to arrive. It’s a disappointing end to a good album. The guys could have had at least two songs that would have taken it up as level. For me, I would skip away from Signals if I had it on a random listen.
Joe Barnicki and Bob Peach have written some pretty decent songs and have an album they should be really proud of. In getting Ben Green for vocal duties, they have unearthed a gem
I don’t know if the guys are selling it, giving it away for free or, play it at your house if the moneys right. If you are a true fan of AOR/melodic rock, you really need to check out Tokyo Storm
Score - 7.5/10 (more if the last song wasn't on there)
Tokyo Storm –
Bob Peach – Drums
Joe Bartnicki – Guitar
Ben Green – Vocals
Jason Edwards – Bass (Live shows)
Optimistic State Of Mind
Is This Love
Kill The Machines
Fire In Your Eyes