Da Vinci - Ambition Rocks,
Da Vinci was formed in Norway back in 1986, and after a short round of demos, they got a record deal with Polygram Norway and released their debut album the following year. They enjoyed as much radio play and charting nationally in the same league as Return, Stage Dolls and TNT, they released two albums, ‘Da Vinci’ and ‘Back in the Business’. Their most well-known songs were “Forever in My Heart” and “Tarquinia” from the first album; and “Call Me a Liar” and “9&10” from ‘Back in Business’. They toured constantly from 1986 to 1992 completing more than 600 performances in Norway alone. They also played as support for Status Quo on their Christmas Remedy tour in 1989 in the UK and their final concerts were two gigs at Wembley Arena.
Now, twenty-five years after they were last together the band are back with a new album. Well, almost. Although one could think that this is the original band back having patched up whatever differences caused them to break up the first time, what we actually have is Gunnar Westlie (guitar) and Dag Selboskar (keyboards) with a new bassist, drummer and singer. But, although the use of the old name may be a marketing ploy to get them some publicity, when music is as good as this it doesn’t really matter what the name is on the cover.
This is class melodic rock/AOR from the first note to the very last. I don’t know the background of singer Erling Ellingsen, but he is a real find, with not only a powerful range but with just enough roughness to his voice so that the music always feels real, and never too cheesy. Bassist Roy Funner and drummer Bjørn Olav Lauvdal keep it locked down, providing the foundation that allows Gunnar and Dag to take turns in providing melodic leads, and the songs roll by with hooks aplenty. Seriously, there isn’t a weak moment on the album, with good production, great songs, and wonderful performances. If ever an album was resurrecting the glory days of this genre, then this is it. It may not be released until August 25th, but this is worth making a note in the diary for.