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Covered Call - "Money Never Sleeps" (CD)

Covered Call - "Money Never Sleeps" CD cover image

"Money Never Sleeps" track listing:

1. All Because of Me (4:13)
2. Til' The End (4:15)
3. Shine (3:44)
4. Never Again (5:20)
5. Anything You want (4:23)
6. I Wanna Be Free (4:06)
7. Nothing At all (3:20)
8. Money Never Sleeps (4:11)
9. What About Us (3:50)
10. Let's Make It Real (4:36)

Reviewed by on March 19, 2009

"Vikstrom has the vocal appeal that draws radio listeners in with his clear, never strained chords, and his performance on 'Anything You Want' is nothing short of lovely."

Every once in a while I’m really torn on how to rate an album. Being a child of the 80’s, there’s a part of me that still loves poppy, radio-friendly tunes that you find yourself singing along with even though they are light on meaning. And yet, many times this sort of music isn’t something that’s favored by many readers. So, with that disclaimer, let me say that the Swedish band Covered Call’s "Money Never Sleeps" is a good album, but not one I’d consider a pick for die-hard metal fans.

The concept of the band name and album cover may be the best explanation of the band’s musical style. The cover shows a stockbroker wiping the sweat from his brow as a wall of plunging markets stands behind him, and in fact the band name is an investor term that, unless you’re a stockbroker, you wouldn’t understand.

Still, the band’s reasoning for all this money talk, besides the fact that several of its members and backers also work in the stock markets, is that they decided the masses needed something upbeat to take their minds off the failing economy. What better than peppy, 80’s fashioned rock to lift your spirits?

If Covered Call’s main goal was to deliver happy music, then they’ve won gold with this endeavor. With the exception of the single, heartfelt ballad, "Anything You Want," all these songs are mainstream rock, radio-friendly, sing along melodies. They are solid tunes, though they lack much in the way of any metal sound. There is a little bit of guitar prowess in "Never Again" that brings to mind Eddie Van Halen, but it is covered up, and short-lived.

However, Journey fans will rejoice to hear a new band whose sound is just as upbeat and whose vocals are just as melodic as Steve Perry’s. Vocals here are led by ex-Candlemass singer Thomas Vikstrom, and are uplifting and lovely, though his presence is the only similarity to Candlemass. Always melodic, Vikstrom has the vocal appeal that draws radio listeners in with his clear, never strained chords, and his performance on "Anything You Want" is nothing short of lovely. This ballad is beautiful in its simplicity - just Vikstrom’s voice, which reminds me of Mats Leven on this track, and a classic piano. Even listeners who aren’t particularly fond of ballads may find themselves choosing this song as best on the album, because it’s something different from the rose-colored glasses sound of the rest of the tracks. It shows a depth that is noticeably absent on the rest of the album.

With all this feel good music, "Money Never Sleeps" tends to slip into the trenches of sounding the same. In fact, the title track and its follow up, "What About You," are so similar in their intros, that they make you do a double take. Until the entrance of the vocals, I wasn’t sure but what perhaps my music player was playing the same song twice.

Overall, Covered Call’s sound is good. For those who like 80’s radio music, especially those looking for Journey re-incarnate, Covered Call is an excellent choice. For those who are fond of current radio bands like Theory of a Deadman, Covered Call may be a good choice as well. But for Candlemass fans, even if you love Vikstrom, and fans of heavier stuff, stay far, far away.

Highs: Thomas Vikstrom’s vocals are solid, and "Anything You Want" is a fabulous, classic ballad.

Lows: Many of the tunes start to sound the same; not much appeal for pure metal fans.

Bottom line: A decent, upbeat album, and a new look for ex-Candlemasser Thomas Vikstrom.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)