Track Listing
Starship of Giants (3)
Hello Light
Houdini's Eyes
Still Strong (2)
Son of a Gun
Open Your Heart (1)
Captain of Clouds
Don't You Know
Beggar And Thief
The Morning Smoke
Monsters
Mary

(*) Best Tracks

Discography & (Rank)
Urban Tale (1)
Signs Of Times (2)

Buy it if you liked:
Urban Tale
Steve Perry - For The Love Of Strange Medicine, Street Talk
Journey - Raised On Radio
URBAN TALE
Signs Of Times
Frontiers Records FRCD138
Produced By: Anders Theander
Running Time: 50.28 Release Date: January 27
Released: EU Genre: AOR
WebLink: Urban Tale LabelLink: Frontiers
94%

Urban Tale released one of the breakout albums of 2000 and certainly one of the best AOR debut's in the time that I have run this site.
They have crafted their own unique sound, yet are familiar enough to be able to relate them to other high profile artists and above all else, we able to manage a major label production quality for their album. Individual elements are always possible, yet the combination is rare. To have such a quality album is another plus for this scene and will only help enhance it's reputation. regardless of style, more like that are needed.
So with their second, eagerly anticipated album, have the guys managed to pull all the needed elements together again? No doubt about it - yes.
There are a couple of changes. While the sound of the debut - a hybrid, European style, high-tech mix of Journey and Styx - is certainly in place, as is the once again excellent production/mix; the style is a little diversified.
Signs Of Times sees the guys branching out a little, toughening their sound a little - with a more direct role placed in the hands of guitarist Erkka Korhonen.
While this is still 100% European AOR, this is a more adventurous album - darker and more progressive - with tracks like Captain Of Clouds, Houdini's Eyes and Beggar And Theif most amply highlighting this twist. There are also a few extra production effects adding depth to the music, that on the debut, was consistently soft, high-tech AOR.
The guys will increase their fanbase on the back of this release.
Those wanting instant gratification can tune into songs like Son Of A Gun and Open Your Heart. These are fabulous uptempo AOR tracks with instant choruses that die hards will eat up.
And you can't go past the band's big ballad of this album, Still Strong. Again, it's not as instant as the debut's One Day (I'll Make You Mine)(which should have been a worldwide #1 smash), but it has major charm and will be prominent in melodic friendly bedroom's all over the world. I'm still totally blown away by vocalist Kimmo Blom. His fabulous Steve Perry / Tommy Shaw style vocals rule this record and like the songs, show increased maturity and diversity. Just check out the closing vocal/piano ballad Mary.

The Bottom Line
For those that loved the debut, this will sit alongside that easily. There are not enough changes to alienate anyone, merely enhance the band's sound and ensure that they are not standing still, but rather developing and furthering the AOR/melodic rock cause.
Urban Tale are as smooth as a baby's bum. But they are no longer soft AOR. They are a great melodic rock act that deserve an increased following and all the accolades that will come their way.
Almost as good as the fabulous debut - which believe me, was always going to be a tough call. That album remains a nose in front due to it's uniqueness and special place in my personal favourites.
2003 is off to a flying start.

Line Up
Kimmo Blom: Vocals
Erkka Korhonen: Guitar
Timo Pudas: Piano, Keyboards
Kari Valimaki: Drums
Tuomo Kovalainen: Bass

Additional Ratings
Songwriting
93%
Attitude
95%
Production
95%

AOR Heaven NEH Records Z-Roxx Loud 1 Destiny Hot Tracks Target Wishing Well Loud Metal Perris


28/04/03: Tom - dezjokke@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
Great album. Starship of Giants and Hello Light are songs that just get stuck in your head and won't leave.

Yup, I hear a lot of Journey here and also some Survivor. I reckon these guys are better than On The Rise, who are also great newcomers. The rhythms are a bit tighter and pack more punch.

Great stuff! Go out and have a listen.

15/04/03: Johnny - mowpardude@yahoo.com
Rating: 91
This album will take some slightly longer to become familiar with.
After 2 months the best songs in my opinion are: Hello Light, Morning Smoke, Son of a Gun, Beggar and Thief, and Still strong. If you enjoy any Journey related stuff as I do, pick this up! A wonderful progression from the debut album with enough twists and turns to avoid blatantly copying the debut.
I wish the radio in America would play this band. I wish they would come here to the USA for a tour!

23/02/03: Rich - drhall01@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
Urban Tale's sophmore album is welcome release in era of bland nu-breed rock.I really like their first c.d. with melodic gems such as "On The Edge" & "Broken Chains"."Sign Of Times" is a marked improvement in terms of production and the songwriting has grown considerably.It's not as easy to get into as the first release but give it time and you will truly appreciate the effort that went in to this production.Standout tracks are numerous..."Son Of A Gun","Open Your Heart","Houdini's Eyes","Starhip Of Giants","Captain Of Clouds","Beggar & Thief" & "Monsters".The future of melodic rock is safe with Urban Tale

16/02/03: nick snowdon - j.snorton@ntlworld.com
Rating: 94
this is a good album but there are a few dull moments when one track just runns in to the next but it allso has some of the best tracks of the year so far(i know its only febuary but i not talking album of the year stuff here)and in still strong it has one of the best ballads you are going to here this year and starship of giants is a great opening track all in all a good addition to any one aor collection

27/01/03: John K - Dngrousage@aol.com
Rating: 93
The sophomore slump, which bands can sometimes encounter, definitely was avoided on this latest release. The album has a harder edge and is definitely progressive in spots. It has taken a few more listens than the debut did to digest. Favorite tracks at this point would be, "Hello Light", "Son of a gun", and "Still strong". Just one listen to tracks such as "Open your heart" and "Don't you know?" show you how far they have progressed with the songwriting aspect. A great album that hasn't left my cd player for the entire week. Erkka Korhonen guitar playing is stellar and diverse, and Kimmo Blom continues to impress. Buy this album! JPK

08/01/03: Kula - kulius69@hotmail.com
Rating: 99
Urban Tale is a new experience for me, but after this the debutalbum will for sure soon be a member of my collection. This is meldic high-tech AOR at it's best. Can only agree with Andy, Kimmo Blom must be Steve Perry's long lost brother... "starship of giants", "son of a gun", "open your heart" is pure upbeat AOR, while songs like "captain of clouds", "monsters" and "beggar & Thief" takes us to a new dimension in the melodic rock. Every song has its own charm, the band isn't stuck in repeating therselves song after song like many other AOR bands. Think "signs of times" will be as classic to me like Magnum's "wings of heaven". A fantastic album...


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