Musicbusiness Norway A/S
Release Date: May 24, 2004

User Review
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Last year, Stage Dolls had a very successful comeback in their home country of Norway with their “best of” album, Good Times. These days, the band is set to release their first studio album since Dig in 1997, a much braver thing to do than putting out an album full of songs that people already love.

Stage Dolls never had a huge international breakthrough album, but due to successful touring in both the States and in Europe in the late eighties and the nineties (supporting e.g., Blue Murder, Warrant, and Fish), quite a few outside of Norway’s borders are now well aware of the existence of this band. When Metal Hammer Magazine through 1990 gave their readers a 12-piece pull-out Hard Rock & Heavy Metal Encyclopedia, Stage Dolls were one of very few bands “rewarded” with a band picture (That made at least me, a Norwegian and a fan of the band, quite proud back at that time!).

On the new album’s title track, “Get A Life,” Torstein Flakne, the band’s vocalist, guitarist, and main composer sings: /Got my first gig back in ’72 /I’m still a rebel without a clue/. Yes, he has been around for a while, and through the years he has grown to earn a well deserved reputation as a unique songwriter in the AOR tradition.

Flakne and his band don’t sound a whole lot like rebels, though. Get A Life contains rock music very far away from what you might normally associate with the term “rebellion.” This album also conveys a sound you normally don’t associate with in 2004. Stage Dolls still sound like it’s the early nineties, totally outdated, but if you manage to pretend this album is 10-15 years old, there is a lot to love on this disc!

The similarities to Bryan Adams and Def Leppard are pervasive, but it only gets uncomfortable when some very overproduced backing vocals, with way too much reverb, sneak in.

Torstein Flakne sure writes great tunes, though. Get A Life is full of catchy melodies, such as the title track, “24/7,” “Runnin’ Back To You,” “Only,” and “You’re The One” (also appeared as a bonus track on last year’s best of album). A lot of fans will wonder why there aren’t more hard-rocking songs in the mix. Much of the material, actually, is quite mellow. Even tracks named “Everybody Wanna R&R” won’t manage to threaten the peace in your neighborhood, no matter how loud you play it. Other songs, like “Too Late For Love” and “Don’t Fight It” suffer from sounding a bit too one-dimensional.

However, everyone who has the chance to see Stage Dolls play live this summer should look forward to it. I bet Flakne & Co. give the new songs the rock and roll edge they need to be successful from the stage. Flakne never makes it easy for himself when he arranges his guitar playing for Stage Doll’s live performances. He always makes sure he has to sing on top of some complicated finger works, which never fail to give their gigs some extra blast. Stay tuned for a Stage Dolls live review in mid-June!


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