Jonas Lindberg and The Other Side – Miles From Nowhere (Album Review)

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New year, new faces in the prog world. Jonas Lindberg won’t be a familiar name to most of our readers but don’t let that dissuade you from checking out his band The Other Side and their excellent album “Miles From Nowhere”. The second full-length album from the band, its initial singles garnered enough attention to woo Inside Out to come knocking. And with good reason, too. For fans of bands like Spock’s Beard and The Flower Kings, this is well-written and performed modern progressive rock that can’t be missed.

Lindberg himself is a bassist, producer and the primary songwriter, though he also plays guitar, keys and sings backing vocals – a full band leader and then some. On the new album he ended up playing all of the keys and singing lead on a few songs as well, quite impressive given the quality of keyboard playing on this album. The band actually sports three lead vocalists, Jonas Sundqvist and Jenny Storm in addition to Lindberg himself, ensuring a strong vocal blend, good variety in voicing, as well as plenty of support in the backing vocals department. Along with cameos from guest drummers and guitarists, the core band are well positioned to make the most of Lindberg’s engaging compositions.

Summer Queen” is one of the standouts on an album with no filler. This 16 minute piece opens with a shimmering keyboard intro, beckoning the epic at hand, before segueing into a jaunty Steve Howe-style acoustic fingerpicking pattern as the backdrop for Storm’s beautifully delivered verses. The middle section brings in some bite to support Jonas Sundqvist’s vocals before taking many more twists and turns, finally closing with a repeating piano pattern not unlike Firth of Fifth’s ending. The contrast of lead female and male vocals is effectively used again on the lengthy “Oceans of Time”, which also incorporates exciting keyboard and lead guitar trading sections. Here Simon Wilhelmsson mans the drum kit while Calle Stålenbring serves up searing solos.

These longer pieces boast arrangements similar to Neal Morse compositions, with repeating synth lines tying together the themes amidst the exciting jams and verses. This will ultimately be taken to its logical conclusion for the 26-minute title track. Comprised of five sections, the opening overture lasts a good six-plus minutes before the first verse is sung, Sundqvist’s voice sailing in on a beautiful melody which is reprised in the final section for a glorious finale. While the form and contents perhaps stray a bit too close to a classic Morse blueprint, the material itself is damn good, a veritable hook tour-de-force with melodies galore. The fact that Roine Stolt is brought in for the final guitar solo section is true icing on the cake. Lindberg has studied well and the results, while a bit derivative, are undeniably rewarding.

The band excels at shorter songs, too. “Little Man” is one of the best, boasting exquisite melodies sung by Sundqvist which stay with the listener long afterwards. Originating from an improvised jam session with Lindberg and Sundqvist, the lyrics deal with confronting your inner child, telling you to stop and question your goals in life. “Secret Motive Man” leads off the album with a crunchy hook, Sundqvist’s vocals on the verse alternating with Storm on the chorus, while Lindberg takes the lead again on the brief but effective “Why I’m Here”. There’s even an instrumental, “Astral Journey”, which starts off in a lyrical acoustic atmosphere and keeps the listener’s attention throughout as the band kicks in.

Miles From Nowhere” runs for an hour and 17 minutes which often would seem a bit long in tooth. Even the best albums seem to lose some of their charm if they run much over 60 minutes. Impressively, Lindberg and The Other Side’s songwriting, production and instrumentation keeps the listener engaged throughout. There’s not a weak moment to be found; to the contrary, each song is well-constructed and executed, begging for repeat listenings. The new record deal with Inside Out will hopefully inspire the band to keep up their momentum and build on this impressive achievement.

Released by: Inside Out Music
Released on: February 18th, 2022
Genre: Progressive Rock

Musicians:

  • Jonas Lindberg / Vocals
  • Jonas Sundqvist / Vocals
  • Jenny Storm / Vocals

“Miles From Nowhere”  Track-listing:

  1. Secret Motive Man
  2. Little Man
  3. Summer Queen
  4. Oceans Of Time
  5. Astral Journey
  6. Why I’m Here
  7.  Miles From Nowhere
    1. PT I – Overture
    2. PT II – Don’t Walk Away
    3. PT III – I Don’t Know Where You Are
    4. PT IV – Memories
    5. PT V – Miles From Nowhere

8.8 Excellent

The hooks and melodies keep flowing throughout this remarkable album from Swedish artist Jonas Lindberg and his band The Other Side. Well-conceived, well-executed and well-produced, “Miles From Nowhere” succeeds equally with short, catchy songs and long, elaborate epics. If melodic contemporary prog is your scene, this will likely be in your Top 10 of the new year.

  • Songwriting 9.5
  • Musicianship 9
  • Originality 7.5
  • Production 9
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