R.A.W. First (MTM Records) (2004)
I have to admit that the name R.A.W. didnít ring any bells and thereís a
good reason for that. The band was originally named PUMP, and under that
name signed a contract with EMI Sweden. In 1995 they released their first
single "First Time Love" which made it to the Swedish charts. Things didnít
seem to work out with EMI Sweden and the members of the band decided to make
a fresh start by changing their name to R.A.W. The first official release
under the new name was their single "Donít Tell me Lies" and a few months
later followed their debut album "First" which Iím holding in my hands.
Things are pretty simple here. If you are a Bon Jovi fan you are going to
love this album. The founding members of the band, Bo (Vocals) and Anders
(Bass) Lindmark seem to be quite big admirers of the multi-platinum Hard
Rocker from New Jersey.
The formula they used for the creation of this album is well tested and also
quite successful. Your song needs to be based on a nice Hard Rock riff like
the one in "Ran Out Of Love". Then you add deep, passionate vocals and if
you manage to have a well-structured rhythm section, the success is almost
guaranteed. Micke Larson is a really good guitar player. His compositions
are quite impressive in almost every song. His opening guitar theme in
"50/50" reminded me of Joe Satriani, before the band vocals transformed the
song into a typical 80ís American Hard Rock song, of the likes of Poison.
"Turn Back Time" and "Donít Tell Me Lies" are both quite enjoyable and
easygoing songs. The first ballad of the album is "Michelle", a nice melodic
song with acoustic guitar, and something tells me that this is a song
dedicated to the daughter of one of the members of the band.
The album continues with the Hard Rock melodies of "Why Stop", the Rock
níRoll attitude of "T.G.I.F" and the nice groovy riffs of "Golddiggers"
before "Touch Of Love", the second ballad of the album, makes itís
appearance. "Touch Of Love" with its gospel tune is a really enjoyable song,
and also features a female vocalist with a really good voice whoís name
unfortunately I couldnít trace.
You need more proof as to how much the band sounds like Bon Jovi? Just
listen to "Too Hot To Handle", a song with great band vocals and well-played
guitars (Paul, youíre going to love this one mate!)."Since Youíve been Gone"
is another catchy tune and "First Time Love" is a beautiful song with
acoustic guitars which will bring a sweet and melodic ending to this album.
This MTM re-release features two bonus tracks "It Just Came Down" and "I
Believe", both nice melodic songs with the latter being the third
composition featuring acoustic guitars.R.A.Wís debut album represents the
Hard Rock spirit of the 80ís, and is just as good as any release of that
era. It is an ideal album for anyone who enjoys listening to Bon Jovi and
the best thing to play in your car if you have a long-hour drive ahead of
Review by John Stefanis