TOKYO S TORM
Review by Dave Crompton
FIREWORKS Magazine Issue 83
TOKYO STORM - 'OPTIMISTIC STATE OF MIND'
A ... tten ... tion !! Stand by your beds, Pink and Fluffy Brigade, because this one is certainly for you! Seriously though, if you enjoy the more soothing, serenading and sophisticated facets of AOR, then this will be right up your street. This is the debut album from UK Midlands-based Tokyo Storm, a band who, to my current knowledge, has yet to be signed up by any reputable label (C' mon guys, what are you waiting for?!!). I've listened to this album innumerable times (as any reviewer should), and one thing's for certain; Ben Green (vocals), Joe Bartnicki (guitar, backing vocals), Jason Edwards (bass, backing vocals) and Bob Peach (drums) should take a huge bow and be very proud of themselves, as 'Optimistic ....', despite an obvious low-budget input, sounds amazing. In fact, on first listen you could easily mistake this album as being yet another one of those highly-polished products from those pesky Swedes (a huge compliment, not a disparaging comment). For those of you familiar with Coastland Ride (my review of 'Distance' in issue 81); well, this is along those lines, but is even better. These guys are certainly not trying to reinvent the wheel, but despite their verse/bridge/chorus formulae, and the somewhat predictable rhyming couplets delivery, they have incorporated a modern British sheen to proceedings, and have even integrated a few Westcoast individualisms for good measure. It's a beautifully balanced opus, and with the vast majority of songs on offer being over the five-minute mark, you certainly get your money's worth. By the time you've absorbed the opening troika of the up-tempo title track, balladic 'Is This Love' and uplifting 'Tune' you will appreciate exactly what this group of musicians are all about; sublime lead vocals, tight harmonies, and each instrument given equal exposure. 'Kill The Machines', 'Fire In Your Eyes' and 'Summer Feeling' illustrate the more rousing façade of the band, with Bartnicki injecting some wonderfully controlled guitar breaks. Conversely, if it's the slower, sensory and serene side of AOR that satisfies you, then look no further than 'Stormy Night', 'Lady Darkness' and my personal favourite, the opulent 'Silent Obsession'. The album concludes in rather unusual fashion with 'Signals'; it's an eleven-minute instrumental that confirms that these guys are resolutely meshed as one. 'Optimistic...' will certainly be high on my list of 2018 releases; and I'm already looking forward to their sophomore effort. Stand at ease! Dave Crompton
Fireworks Magazine Review
Review by Dmitry M. Epstein
TOKYO STORM - 'OPTIMISTIC STATE OF MIND'
TOKYO STORM - Optimistic State Of Mind Tokyo Storm 2017 In search of exhilarating matter, British band's high-spirited debut makes a stand against everyday greyness. TOKYO STORM - Optimistic State Of Mind TOKYO STORM
- Optimistic State Of Mind Perhaps, it's a mere coincidence that the acronym of this album's title sounds like "awesome" - but it's surely what the Midlands ensemble behind it strive for.
Criminally unsigned, the quartet demonstrate a great potential, and the listener must be hooked on the band's mood immediately,
from an uplifting a cappella lead-in to the record's titular opener whose AOR resolve is nicely anchored with heavy riffs which leave enough leeway for choruses to try and levitate.
Problem is, there's not a lot of inner development in any single piece, so the songs sometimes threaten to outstay their welcome, although pop-minded numbers such as "Tune" are rather riveting and slow cuts like the epic
"Silent Obsession" are brimming with righteous romanticism - that's why basically every other track on display is a ballad. Ben Green's voice imbues "Lady Darkness" and "Is This Love" with soulfulness and
Joe Bartnicki's sun-kissed strum makes it all even more lucid, yet heaviosity seems to serve the group quite well, what with vocals and six-string harmonies feeding the well-grounded rock 'n' roll of
"Fire In Your Eyes" and "Kill The Machines" rendering these smashes highly infectious. Still, the most unexpected offering is saved for last, for the 11-minute
"Signals" to reveal the entire expanse the ensemble are capable of when they chose to unhurriedly explore progressive sensibility in instrumental terms. Optimism should take this
band far - that's the spirit which will break any barrier out there, the spirit so enjoyable here and now.
Dmitry M. Epstein
Link to Let It Rock Review
TOKYO STORM - 'OPTIMISTIC STATE OF MIND'
TOKYO STORM - Optimistic State Of Mind Tokyo Storm 2017 In search of exhilarating matter, British band's high-spirited debut makes a stand against everyday greyness. TOKYO STORM - Optimistic State Of Mind TOKYO STORM - Optimistic State Of Mind Perhaps, it's a mere coincidence that the acronym of this album's title sounds like "awesome" - but it's surely what the Midlands ensemble behind it strive for. Criminally unsigned, the quartet demonstrate a great potential, and the listener must be hooked on the band's mood immediately, from an uplifting a cappella lead-in to the record's titular opener whose AOR resolve is nicely anchored with heavy riffs which leave enough leeway for choruses to try and levitate. Problem is, there's not a lot of inner development in any single piece, so the songs sometimes threaten to outstay their welcome, although pop-minded numbers such as "Tune" are rather riveting and slow cuts like the epic "Silent Obsession" are brimming with righteous romanticism - that's why basically every other track on display is a ballad. Ben Green's voice imbues "Lady Darkness" and "Is This Love" with soulfulness and Joe Bartnicki's sun-kissed strum makes it all even more lucid, yet heaviosity seems to serve the group quite well, what with vocals and six-string harmonies feeding the well-grounded rock 'n' roll of "Fire In Your Eyes" and "Kill The Machines" rendering these smashes highly infectious. Still, the most unexpected offering is saved for last, for the 11-minute "Signals" to reveal the entire expanse the ensemble are capable of when they chose to unhurriedly explore progressive sensibility in instrumental terms. Optimism should take this band far - that's the spirit which will break any barrier out there, the spirit so enjoyable here and now.
***2/3 Dmitry M. Epstein
Link to Let It Rock Review
Review by Dean Buckley
AOR is dead! They say not if Tokyo Storm, a new Midlands based rock quartet have got anything to say about it. I say, don't get me wrong here, its not reinventing the wheel or it isn't anything you've heard before; it is however like an old pair of slippers - familiar, comforting to listen to and dare I say it warming for the soul.
The opening track sets the tone for the album and as titled even for a jaded old Melodic rock listener like myself leaves me in an 'Optimistic State Of Mind', (see what I did there). A delightful mixture of mid paced rockers, the likes of 'Is This Love' with a great vocal performance from Ben Green, or the tasteful power ballad 'Stormy Nights' (the woman who slept with Donald Trump) with some nifty fretwork from guitarist Joe Bartnicki.
The rhythm section of Jason Edwards and Bob Peach keep the whole record positively bouncing along. A personal favorite is the delightful 'Silent Obsession'. Comparisons I'll leave to others, but what I will say is that Tokyo Storm have a classic Brit AOR sound think along the lines of Lost Weekend or Iconic Eye for example, all the songs are self penned originals, and the craftsmanship for a new band is top notch. The production is quality, leaving the listener to enjoy a warm rich sound that suits the Melodic fare on offer.
However I offer a word of warning....avoid the last track the 11 minute instrumental 'Signals'. I can only assume writers block had set in by this point and honestly it's a damn shame such a great album should end in this way. The track is about as welcome as a fart in a lift ....Don't let that however put you off what is a nice addition to the UK ranks of AOR/ Melodic rock bands .
Link to chesyrockreviews,com Review
Tokyo Storm - 'Optimistic State Of Mind'
I was recently contacted by Ben Green singer of TS. They are an unsigned UK AOR band. Tokyo Storm is a four piece melodic rock band hailing from the West Midlands. Influenced by bands such as Journey, FM & ELO, the debut album, 'Optimistic State of Mind' was the brainchild of Bob Peach (drums) and Joe Bartnicki (guitar) who wrote and recorded the music for the album over a couple of years. After recruiting Ben Green to sing on the album, they have now been joined by Jason Edwards to play bass on their upcoming live shows. Do you know what? I'd love to see a label like Frontiers take on a band like TS instead of pushing 'so called big names' and giving them oxygen when they should have been culled with a bolt gun in the early 90s. Like BulletBoys for one, and there's more like this I could mention. The melodic rock community is saturated with bands from the 80s, who still think it's the 1980s (it isn't guys). Or the newer guard - some of which are from the 80s, but never got the chance they deserved, but are making up for lost time now. I understand the financials in doing this 'legacy band' offer. Even if it's shite, they could probably shift 3-5k with no effort. But, for the legacy to survive, punts have to be taken on some of this 'new unsigned guard' of bands. TS apart from Ben look as if they have been doing the rounds for a fair few years and have clearly paid their dues. What I've heard so far is a cracking set of melodic rock songs that would grace any AOR lovers collection. You wouldn't think that this thing is self-produced as it's as good as anything I've heard. 'Optimistic State Of Mind' sets its AOR stall out immediately. It envelopes you like a blanket, and you're sucked in by the warm vocals and comfortable feeling that you get from a band that knows what it wants, and wants you to feel. Is this love is as smooth as it comes, a bit Toto, and FM like. Which is no bad place to be. 'Tune' gives Joe Bartnicki the chance to show off his guitar skills, no OTT thrill, just simply and very nicely done. 'Stormy Night' is a obligatory ballad, with Greens vocals giving enough emotion to make it count. It could easily segue into 'what becomes of the broken hearted' 'Kill The Machines' is a bit harder edged. Green reminds me of someone I can't quite put my finger on. Shit like this is regular when you're 51! Got it....on this song he has this Matti Alfonzetti vibe, and that, is not a bad sound by any stretch. 'Silent Obsession' is a smooth an AOR ballad that you are likely to hear, they type that could just be triple the length live and would be even more fantastic. The TS boys have set their phasers to 'stun' with 'Fire In Your Eyes', and it has a great 80s vibe to it. 'Lady Darkness' is a bit of a plodder, I was hoping it would build up to a crescendo, but stayed at the same pace throughout. Its not bad, I just wanted a little more out of it. 'Summer feeling' has a 'proper' 80s opening riff, and when its played out like this is when they truly shine. Its over all too soon with the final track, and epic-length 'Signals'. Just because its long doesn't guarantee that its great. The first couple of eight minutes are just too incidental. I was expecting 'something' and it constantly failed to arrive. It's a disappointing end to a good album. The guys could have had at least two songs that would have taken it up as level. For me, I would skip away from Signals if I had it on a random listen. Joe Barnicki and Bob Peach have written some pretty decent songs and have an album they should be really proud of. In getting Ben Green for vocal duties, they have unearthed a gem I don't know if the guys are selling it, giving it away for free or, play it at your house if the moneys right. If you are a true fan of AOR/melodic rock, you really need to check out Tokyo Storm
Link to Paul Chesworth Needle in the Groove Review
Richard Wall, Sonic Bandwagon and
Author of the novel, Fat Man Blues
Congratulations on your album,
it's a quality product and you all should be proud of it. For those of a certain age, the very mention of AOR (Adult Oriented Rock) brings back memories of 1980s MTV Rock Videos featuring a skinny, spandex-clad guitar hero atop a butte in Monument Valley at sunset, waist-length hair flowing in the wind as a helicopter appears behind him (there was always a helicopter in MTV rock videos). The 1980s was its heyday and AOR bands such as Toto, Foreigner, Journey, Asia and Yes (the Trevor Horn version) ruled the airwaves and TV screens until, inevitably, music trends changed and AOR sank without a trace. Well now it's back. Tokyo Storm are a four-piece band from the Midlands, who are making waves on the Worcestershire music scene with their debut album, 'Optimistic State Of Mind', a collection of ten original songs with an even spread of driving rock songs and power ballads that offers something for everyone. The album opens with the title track, a blistering, supercharged V8 engine of a song, which sets the tone for all that is to come, and, in this reviewer's opinion, is good enough to stand alongside any AOR classic from yesteryear. Releasing a debut album of original AOR material is a gutsy move, but it's clear that OSOM is very well-produced. Each of the ten songs is crafted well and delivered impeccably. The standard of songwriting, musicianship, and production has resulted in a polished and professional-sounding debut collection, of which the band ought to be proud. Tokyo Storm are here to stay and have the chops to go on to bigger and better things. Can they resurrect AOR? With an optimistic state of mind, I rather think they can.
Link to Richard Walls Review at Sonic band wagon
By Keith James Sinclair
ELO Beatles Forever
The title says it all. Once you've listened to the debut album from new Midlands based rock quartet Tokyo Storm, you will enter into an "Optimistic State Of Mind" thanx to an impressive array of well crafted songs underpinned by the guitar craft of Joe Bartnicki, top class vocalist Ben Green, ace drummer Bob Peach and bassist Jason Edwards, their latest recruit. Admirers of the rockier edge of ELO, Paul Rodgers/Free, Journey, Whitesnake, Foreigner, Yes, Kansas and those classic American rock bands we all know and love will find "Optimistic State Of Mind" an approachable and familiar album blended with instantly likeable guitar licks, searching lyrics with meaning and the heartbeat of superb percussion. If the title track doesn't grab your attention, then the moody "Silent Obsession" and "Lady Darkness" will if not the jealousy tinged "Is This Love", the driving anthem that is "Tune" or elevated ballad "Stormy Night". "Kill The Machines" is a call to arms hard to ignore too. The song that makes this album and closes it is my personal fave, the wonderful eleven minute instrumental piece entitled "Signals". With elements of Pink Floyd and some superlative musicianship on display, it provides balance and a fitting album closer leaving the listener with a knowing smile that they have just experienced a stunning rock album from start to finish. Tokyo Storm are looking for a label to provide a platform for their music. The likes of Frontiers, SPV, Angel Air and Cherry Red would do well to sit up and take notice. A Tokyo Storm is coming! ____ Trax: "Optimistic State Of Mind" ~ "Is This Love" ~ "Tune" ~ "Stormy Night" ~ "Kill The Machines" ~ "Silent Obsession" ~ "Fire In Your Eyes" ~ "Lady Darkness" ~ "Summer Feeling" ~ "Signals" Tokyo Storm are: Ben Green (Vocals) + Bob Peach (Drums, Percussion) + Joe Bartnicki (Guitars, Bass, Keyboards) + Jason Edwards (Bass, Vocals)..