Osukaru – “Transition”


osakaru Osukaru is an adult oriented rock band, founded by the Swedish guitarist, Oz Osukaru (Oscar Petersson) along with Ryan Coyle (drums) and Emma-Lee Gunnari (bass). The band’s first release was the ‘GBG2LA’ EP (2010), which stands for (From) Gothenburg To Los Angeles’. The band went on to release ‘Never Too Late’ (2011), ‘Salvation’ (2012) and ‘Triumphant’ (2013) with a variety of guest musicians. Osukaru is the Japanese pronunciation of the name Oscar.

The current line-up is Oz Osukaru (guitars & keyboards), Fredrik Werner (lead vocals & guitar), Cecilia Camuii (lead vocals), Vidar Mårtensson (drums) along with Frederick Svensson (bass), Jens Bjork (saxophone) and Ryan Coyle (drums). Their ‘Transition’ album (2014) saw them firmly back in AOR territory. It follows on from ‘Triumphant’ with Fredrik and Cecilia again handling vocal duties. The cover art again features a blindfolded girl with a white dove. The symbolism means not seeing the world with your eyes but with your heart and mind.

The musical style transports you back in a time-warp between the seventies and mid-eighties when bands such as Asia, Boston, Foreigner, Journey, Survivor and Toto were at their peak. The album opens with a mid-tempo melodic rocker in ‘Angels’, which sees Fredrik and Cecilia trading vocals over a pounding beat. In the middle section, the sound is stripped back for a saxophone interlude before the vocals soar and a guitar solo rips the atmosphere apart. They take a more laid-back approach on ‘Strangled Emotions’ with its vocal harmonies. ‘Edge Of A Broken Heart’ sparkles like a bright sunny day which belies the heartbreak theme. Then it takes a hard rock approach on ‘Play’ with its scorching guitar. This moves into the powerful ‘Blinded Eyes’ with its progressive nuances.

The second half of the album is introduced by a radio DJ and sees them re-recording favourites from their previous releases. These were revisited as they felt they could give them extra polish, such as their debut single ‘Tell Me You’ll Stay’ and ‘Out Of Touch’ from GBG2LA. ‘Mafia Rules’ is from Triumphant and ‘Promised Land’ is from Salvation. Having been reworked in 2012 for Salvation, ‘City Lights’ appears here as a funky stripped-back acoustic version.

This is a superb album which I could easily have given a 9/10 rating if it was all new tracks. The production is great and Fredrik and Cecilia’s vocals are very well suited to the AOR genre. But the fact that half of it is re-recorded drags my overall rating down.

Rating: 7/10

Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby

1. Arrows
2. Strangled Emotions
3. Edge Of A Broken Heart
4. Play
5. Blinded Eyes
6. FM Rocks 98.5 [Redux]
7. Tell Me You’ll Stay – 2014
8. Out Of Touch – 2014
9. Mafia Rules – 2014
10. Promised Land – 2014
11. City Lights – acoustic (Bonus Track)

Oz Osukaru – Guitars/Keyboards
Fredrik Werner – Lead Vocals/Guitars
Cecilia Camuii – Lead Vocals
Vidar Martensson – Drums

Frederick Svensson – Bass
Jens Bjork – Saxophone
Ryan Coyle – Drums

“GBG2LA” (EP – 2010)
“Never Too Late” (EP -2011)
“Salvation” (CD – 2012)
“Triumphant” (CD – 2013)
“Transition” (CD – 2014)

Record Label: City of Lights Records, June 2015

Weblinks: Website / Facebook / Bandcamp

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

Interview with Osukaru (Oct. 2014)

Video below: “Transition” (EPK)

Video below: ‘Arrows’

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