Reach — Prophecy (Icons Creating Evil Art)

Ludvig Törner, the enigmatic leader and lead vocalist of modern rock experimentalists Reach, feels his band’s material is becoming increasingly darker.

He has a point.

Prophecy is a typically contradictory beast, as a trio renowned for pushing the envelope press forward without prejudice.

And, sure, there’s a melancholy vibe underpinning much of the material here.

But that’s more to do with the lyrical themes, rather than the musicality.

Because Prophecy is, on the whole, fashioned around upbeat melodies and jaunty riffs rooted in 60s pop and noughties indie rock.

Think the Beatles meets Imagine Dragons. If that’s your cup of tea.

It’s not really a fusion that would naturally find favour amongst Rushonrock’s rank and file.

Not normally.

But Törner and his buddies are such erudite songwriters that any genre they turn their hand to immediately becomes worthy of attention.

And in spite of an often unsettling narrative, it’s impossible to listen to this record and not feel uplifted, re-energised, challenged and excited. 

Rock music’s power to reboot remains undiminished.

Reach started out life as the heirs apparent to the melodic rock throne and masters of their catchy AOR craft.

But it seems Törner swiftly became bored with all of that.

And a decade down the line the Stockholm trio have proved, yet again, that they’re the masters of adrenaline-fuelled unpredictability and rich reinvention.

Reach for the stars

Keen to pack Prophecy into a pre-determined rock box? Don’t bother.

It’s another genre-fluid collection of peak Reach that presents the band in a dynamic new light.

Save The World ­­— four tracks in ­­— echoes early Purson and it’s easy to imagine Rosalie Cunningham fronting the psych-tinged banger.

The multi-faceted title track showcases Christian Schneider’s adept production job and his talent for adding subtle touches to Reach’s diverse canon.

No wonder his services were retained following a successful collaboration on single Ängel.

Current German rock radio favourite Mama Mama fits like a glove within a carefully curated setlist.

And it’s testimony to the strength of the songwriting here that previous singles Little Dreams and A Millions Lives are equally powerful.

Törner, Marcus Johansson, and Soufian Ma’Aoui have become Scandi rock’s arch disruptors, such is their commitment to reinventing the wheel.

When Rushonrock first clapped eyes on the canny Swedes at Hard Rock Hell an album like Prophecy never seemed likely.

Now anything seems possible for this band without boundaries.

Main image: Johan Lundsten