The Animation is a Swedish Arenarockband from Gothenburg that was formed in late 2006. In our modern age of Rap synths and autotune it can be difficult to find the top seeds amongst the harvest. What makes masters like Blur, The Good, the Bad & The Queen, Massive Attack and Daft Punk so sought after? Sure they sound good, they look good, the feel good. But above that they got something else. They got what many in the industry call X-Factor. So what is X-Factor anyway? It’s just something deep within their spirit that breaks the mold when compared to other artists. They stand out in a good way and transfer well into the hearts and minds of music fans all over the world. Where am I going all with this? Swedish rock band The Animation (Spectra Records) have much in the way of X-Factor. With their latest release, Dance Into the Unknown these 4 have moved away from the electronic rock pacing of today’s radio thus producing 12 hot new tracks that more closely resemble progressive-rock-pop in terms of length and musical form.
With the impressive lead off title track this CD keeps it real with tasty rock grooves that decree power which exudes confidence to the masses. 2 more impressive songs are (The Engineer) and (Won’t Back Down) defiantly worth mentioning, while (It’s Late), (Overboard) and (Lights Over the Sea) are clearly marketable standouts for me. What’s more all pieces deliver instrumentally rich sets with pseudo-apocalyptic messages with an impressive vocal front from lead singer Johan Hasselblom who also plays guitar. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t an overwhelmingly dark CD by any means, because it’s got its fair share of “ray of hope” moments. Case in point pieces like (Fly Away) and (Sunset) which will calm the tormented soul. I really like how the CD ends with (Everest) almost as if you’ve reached the pinnacle. Dance Into the Unknown by The Animation really demonstrates a deeper side of music and even a sense of hope evident through a transparent exploration of yearning and feeling positive about the universe. They remind me of Dishwalla, Collective Soul, Screaming Trees and Days of the New with a cleaner sound. All brought to life with hauntingly detailed musical layers, steady rhythmic pulsation and addictive vocal persuasion. My favorite track is probably (Overboard) and (Lights Over the Sea) which stand out due to its rock solid feel, truthful conviction and amazing lyrics. On all tracks expect an enticing vocal approach from Hasselblom that’s extremely cognizant to the soul. Johan Hasselblom is a very good singer.
All things considered, this is a unique and fundamentally sound CD from a unique and fascinating band an ocean away. It’s nice to know within the ranks if millions of independent artists some are capable of delivering something special that sticks true within their own style and artistic expression. All the while touching an occasionally painfully honest collection of beautiful, powerful and uplifting songs on this CD appropriately entitled “Dance Into the Unknown.”
– Josef Castro