Wim R. : Back in 2006 singer/producer Pelle Saether started Grand Design in Sweden. With ‘Viva La Paradise’ the band is releasing their fourth album. Saether once said that his band found the golden formula to transform eighties rock to the sound of today. He is not far off the truth, judging by this album. Grand Design will serve and please you with melodic, very well produced, rock. Big background vocals and easy to digest rock, that sticks to you like superglue. It seems easy to write easy and recognizable rock, but it is harder than you might think. A big influence on the songwriting and sound is Def Leppard. Yearning for those days that ‘Pyromania’ and ‘Hysteria’ were released? Then there is only one medicine ; Grand Design.
Although this album holds songs that show more of an own identity, One thing has to be clarified ; this is not just some cheap Def Leppard rip-off band. All songs on ‘Viva La Paradise’ are very well composed. Their English inspirators are seriously lacking in that department for years sadly enough. Guitar tandem Dennis Vestman and Janne Stark really shine on this album, firing off one delicious riff or solo after another. ‘Face It’ kicks off the album and it the infectiousness of the song and high ‘sing a long’ percentage clearly shows. ‘Rock and Roll Hysteria’ is destined to become a live favorite, as this is a very nice, mid-tempo track with, again, a very catchy chorus. During title-track ‘Viva La Paradise’ the Def Leppard influence shines through for the first time. But not in a disturbing way at all. The recognizable guitar sound and multi-layered background vocals. Topped off with a guitar solo Phil Collen will sign for every day of the week. What a lovely, lovely song! The quicker ‘Don’t Ice Me Out’ just adds to the enjoyment factor. All songs could be handled individually, but the quality is above par throughout. But ‘It’s Only Straight From The Heart’’ has to be mentioned, as this is one of the really strong tracks. The way this song is structured, building up to my sheer enjoyment.
So, do not expect serious lyrics and moody music. Grand Design are here to rock you, and doing a damn fine job doing so. There is one big difference between Grand Design and Def Leppard. Where the Englishman take years to come uo with one album, Grand Design releases four, high quality, albums. If you like commercial and melodic rock, this album is mandatory.