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Bodin, Tomas - Sonic Boulevard (Digipak) (CD) 
Inside Out 0693723659725 
 
Genre:  
Recorded: 2003 
Released: 2003 
 
Following only a few months behind Pin Up Guru, Tomas Bodin's third solo album focuses even more on his elegant instrumental songwriting instead of his keyboard chops. Many tracks sound like they could have been part of a Flower Kings' album. Then again, that's what you'd expect with FK members Jonas Reingold, Zoltan Csorsz, Hans Bruniusson, Ulf Artan Wallander, and their star guitarist, Roine Stolt, all sitting in with Bodin. The piece ''Back to the African Garden'' even makes extensive use of a theme the keyboardist has written for the group's epic song ''Garden of Dreams,'' from 1999's Flower Power. That being said, Sonic Boulevard does deploy its own atmospheres. The presence of two singers, Anders Hansson and NNogo Bjurhall, both singing wordless lines, helps a lot in defining the album's identity. It is strongly cinematic, especially early on (''The Prayer,'' with Bjurhall's spine-tingling call, ''The Hero from Cloud City,''), thanks to an attempt at fusing African elements in a way that recalls Peter Gabriel's soundtracks without actually reaching that level. Bodin keeps things very neat and tidy. Sometimes the melodies get too sugary sweet, as in ''The Happy Frog'' (the first half is as trite as a Kenny G tune), ''Picture,'' and ''The Night Will Fall,'' but elsewhere, he develops strong themes accompanied by convincing contributions from the aforementioned musicians, plus guitarist JJ Marsh. ''The Hero from Cloud City,'' ''Back to the African Garden,'' and ''The Horses from Zaad'' contain fine prog rock moments, but overall this album rocks significantly less than Bodin's previous efforts. On the other hand, it is also less pompous. ~ François Couture, All Music Guide 
14.99 EUR