On May 23rd 2014 Avenue Of Allies will release “Next Stop”, the much anticipated second album by the Swedish AOR band SONIC STATION. One month before the album the digital single “Amelia” will be available on April 18th 2014, accompanied by a music video for the track.
While perfect arrangements and production values of the highest order are still a trademark of the songs of guitarist, composer and producer Alexander Kronbrink and his band, the music is now focusing on the AOR side of SONIC STATION. The powerful tunes have a more upbeat feeling and give more room to the guitars and with most of the musicians performing on all songs, the recordings carry the spirit of a real band performance rather than having the nature of a high profile studio project like the self-titled debut from 2012.
Alexander was brought up in a musical home in Stockholm, Sweden, where one of his friends in the neighborhood was Jonathan Fritzén, who played keyboards and the piano. Together they had jam sessions fooling around with jazz harmonies and even trying out some of their own compositions. Today Jonathan is a star in the Smooth Jazz genre with several number 1 hits on the US Billboard charts to his name. Jonathan appears on all SONIC STATION albums, as does Alexander on Jonathan’s solo records.
Like most teenagers Alexander was venturing into several musical genres, before a friend of his father’s introduced him to the music of American guitarist Lee Ritenour, this listening experience paved the way for Alexander’s own playing. Subsequently he discovered the music of some of the most influential artists of the US AOR and Westcoast genres like Steely Dan, Kenny Loggins and Toto, as well as songwriter and producer David Foster and listened to guitarists like Jay Graydon, Steve Lukather, Michael Landau and Dann Huff.
Eventually in his early twenties Alexander decided to dedicate himself completely to music. While studying music at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, he met his now long time musical partner in crime, singer and piano player Marika Willstedt.
In her home country Sweden, Marika became a household name after appearing for several seasons on a popular national TV show during prime time. In addition to her work with SONIC STATION as a singer and song writer, she is also a renowned session musician and artist in her own right.
Marika recommended the most significant new addition regarding the album’s personal, lead vocalist Johan Boding. After she and Johan toured together with the legendary Swedish session guitarist Janne Schaffer in 2012, Marika immediately saw Johan as the perfect lead singer for SONIC STATION and he gladly accepted the invitation. When he and Alexander started doing demos for the new album they were both very excited by the magical mix of Johan’s marvelous voice and Alexander’s music. As a result Johan is singing eight of eleven songs on the new album “Next Stop”, while Marika took over the lead vocals on the remaining three songs.
“Next Stop” was recorded between February and November 2013, with Alexander playing guitar and synthesizers and taking over the production duties and handling the mix. The drums on all tracks are played by Thorleif Robertsson and the keyboards by Jonathan Fritzén. Erik Metall laid down the bass on all songs, except on “Catch Me If You Can” and “Fool For Your Love”, where Mathias Garnås, who also co-wrote these songs together with Alexander, took over the bass parts.
Musical guest contributions come from Arvid Svenungsson with additional synthesizers on “Stopped Beating”, Andreas Ekstedt added another component that makes the album come alive by playing percussions and violinist Conny Lindgren wrote and performed, the violin arrangements for the three ballads “Fool For Your Love”, “Broken Man” and “Hide And Seek”.
The co-writers Matilda Bådagård, Mathias Garnås, Morgan Lydemo, Anders von Hofsten, Rebecca Petersson, Emma Essinger and Matilda Lindell added a variety of moods and feelings to the AOR tunes of “Next stop”.
Following the album release SONIC STATION will treat fans of prime AOR in the vein of Work Of Art, Lionville, The Theander Expression and Mecca with several live performances during the coming months.