Niva – “Incremental IV” (AOR Heaven)
Taking right off from literally from where his last album “Magnitude” left off comes Tony Niva’s sophomore – and is it a diamond. Already famed for playing in bands through the 80s & 90s like Vanessa, Swedish Erotica, Malibu Band and Tracy Goes Crazy, Niva’s grounding in AOR is unparalleled both as a composer and a vocalist. Opening with the upbeat ‘Don’t You Know’, his high vocals immediately grab you, clean and faultless as is the unashamed love reflected in the tender harmonies and subtle guitars, soft but still purring their rock essence. It’s swiftly followed by my personal fave and in my opinion best track on the album – ‘Crush’ – with its addictive lines and fluid keyboard melodies – man, if this had been released in the 80s it would’ve been a hit as stadium anthems go! Niva then slows it down a little with the Foreigner like ‘Better Just Forgotten’ with its mid tempo rock crooning beat broken by fast guitar breaks before pausing with the power ballad of the heart breaking ‘Travel Back In Time’ complete with delicate piano accompanying Niva’s angelic vocals. The rest of the album, whilst not quite matching the hit power of the early tracks is no less different in styles ranging from pure AOR to soft Milk Tray moments and pomp rockers but always graced by Niva’s omnipresence. Whatever his style, Tony Niva’s talent as one of Scandinavia’s best is guaranteed on both his albums that take you right back in replaying the 80s to your heart.