"After what has been a rather public and unseemly split from Nightwish (déjà vu anyone...?), onetime Alyson Avenue front-lady Anette Olzon returns with her first solo album, Shine. For anyone expecting something akin to the Nightwish bombast and bluster, it is an album set to surprise, possibly shock and ultimately disappoint. However, for those willing to simply take this album at face value, the surprise will be of an altogether different variety; a classy mix of Pop hooks, grandiose arrangements, intimacy and a sprinkling of the eccentricity which marked Kate Bush out, creating a quite beautiful, confident record that really does indeed shine very brightly indeed. What Shine also allows Olzon to do, is to illustrate a voice that soars, whispers, commands and seduces, revealing far greater facets and variety than her previous musical situation could ever have allowed. Put simply, like the music here, or not, there's absolutely no denying that Anette Olzon is mightily impressive.
Thankfully, it is also extremely easy to give in to the music's charms, Olzon surrounding herself with a crack team (Stefan Orn, Johan Glossner, Johan Kronlund) of songwriters, producers and mixer-masterers, to craft a set of songs that are reasonably simple, memorable and thoroughly captivating. The likes of "Lies" hits like a shimmering Evanescence, "Invincible" is a string and voice (and plaintive guitar as the song builds) masterclass of stark melancholia, "Moving Away" a Scandi-folk tinged piece of adult Pop which works tremendously well. Add to that opener, "Like A Show", which fuses strings to slow electro-beats and a fragile vocal; "Falling", which I could imagine a stripped back Scorpions attempting, and the wonderful, soaring, is it Pop, is it Rock of the album's title track and not only do each and every one of the songs hit their mark, but they do so with enough eclecticism to stand up to repeat listens. And I haven't even mentioned the Kate Bush "Army Dreamers" clone "Floating", which while landing possibly too close to this particular Bush, is still a highlight. Factor in the commercial nous of Abba in places, and Shine really becomes a rare beast. An intelligent, yet utterly accessible and singalongable Pop come Rock album.
Some may have thought that Anette Olzon's departure from Nightwish signalled the beginning of the end of her career in the limelight. On the strength of Shine, it is only just the beginning." - Sea of Tranquility