A.C.T — Imaginary Friends

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A.C.T - Imaginary Friends cover
3.89 | 9 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2001

Filed under Metal Related
By A.C.T


1. Take It Easy (4:27)
2. Hippest Flop (4:48)
3. A Supposed Tour (4:41)
4. Biggest Mistake (7:49)
5. Imaginary Friends (5:50)
6. She/Male (4:47)
7. Relationships:
- a. At The Altar (0:38)
- b. Svetlana (3:42)
- c. No Perspective (1:06)
- d. Second Thoughts (0:54)
- e. Mr. Unfaithful (7:04)
- f. Gamophobia (0:46)
- g. Little Beauty (4:18)
- h. And They Lived Happily Ever After (7:23)
Bonus tracks on Special Edition
Mouse In A Maze (5:32)

Total Time 63:45


- Jerry Sahlin / synthesizers, vocals, backing vocals, vocoder; synthetic drums (7e)
- Ola Andersson / electric and acoustic guitar, backing vocals
- Peter Asp / bass, backing vocals
- Herman Saming / lead vocals, backing vocals, silent trumpet
- Tomas Erlandsson / drums, percussion, backing vocals; lead vocals and keyboards (7h)

About this release

Release date: March 23, 2001
Label: MTM Music 0681-31

Special Edition released though InsideOut Music (2007)

Thanks to dtguitarfan for the addition and progshine for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Imaginary Friends" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Swedish progressive rock/metal act A.C.T. The album was released through MTM Music in March 2001. It´s the successor to "Today's Report" from 1999 and features the exact same five-piece lineup as the predecessor.

The material on the album features elements from various genres of music and there are many stylistic elements and artists which could be mentioned as influences on A.C.T´s music. I´d mention among others Dream Theater (the "Images and Words (1992)" album), Sieges Even (the "Sophisticated (1995)" album), 10cc, Queen, ABBA, The Ark (the Swedish pop/rock band) and Saga. A combination of progressive metal elements and sophisticated/art pop/rock elements make this an eclectic sounding release.

The music is very melodic and most tracks are easy to sing along to, but they are structurally complex enough to keep a progressive rock listener entertained. The album features 6 regular length tracks (4 to 7 seven minutes long) and one longer track (25:51 minutes long) titled "Relationships" which is divided into 8 shorter parts. The music features an overall cheerful/uplifting mood and the lyrics are generally tongue in cheek humorous. There´s definitely some great humour involved in this band and one of the biggest praises I will give to A.C.T regarding the music on "Imaginary Friends" is how many positive feelings listening the album evokes. One of the highlights of the album is the fast-paced and energetic "A Supposed Tour" but album opener "Take It Easy" also ranks up there. But as such all tracks on the album are excellent quality material. Intelligent and memorable compositions.

The musicianship is of high class. This music might have an easy listening pop feeling to it but it´s certainly challenging in terms of technical playing and compositional details. Keyboardist Jerry Sahlin uses some great sounds to my ears and lead vocalist Herman Saming has a distinct high pitched voice that might take some getting used to but he is very skilled. His voice could be an aquired taste though (not that he sounds like Geedy Lee from Rush, but the situation is probably similar).

"Imaginary Friends" features a powerful, clear, and well sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. So upon conclusion it´s a high quality album through and through. It´s highly recommendable to listeners who are looking for progressive rock/metal with an uplifting atmosphere, played by skilled musicians. A 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.
The Crow
After the wonderful debut "Today's Report", A.C.T managed to release a very worthy successor.

"Imaginary Friends" is not a departure in style from "Today's Report", and it doesn'st really surpases it in terms of quality. Maybe the main difference, is that "Imaginary Friends" is even more accesible than the band's debut album. Take it Easy is a very catchy song, with a dynamic chorus; She/Male is very funny, similar to Cat Eyes of the previous album; Biggest Mistake is the best track of the album, with a wonderful chorus and ending part, although the song is very reminiscent to Saga... The epic Relationships is also very good, maybe better than the epic Personalities in "Today's Report". So this collection of easy to listen but still complex tracks are maybe perfect for a band's newcomer.

The sound of the band here follow the path of the first album, being a curious mixture of Queen, Saga, Dream Theater, jazz, cabaret. But finally getting a coherent and catchy result. The range of influences is not so high in this second offering, but it's still huge.

Talking about the musicians, the Ola Andersson's guitars are marvellous again. This man has a great style (on Svetlana he rocks!), with a wide range of abbilities, and wonderful sound. The another pilar of A.C.T's distinctive sound are the Jerry Sahlin's keyboards, they give a fundamental part of the band's eclectic prog. The rest of the guys they also play in a great level.

Best tracks: Take it Easy (an A.C.T's trademark song...), Biggest Mistake (the most catchy and emotional song of the album, although it's almost a copy of some Saga classics...) and the epic Relationships (specially Svetlana and Mr. Unfaithful).

Conclusion: "Imaginary Friends" is not better than "Today's Report"... In my opinion, it's even under the the band's debut. Nevertheless, it has more accesible tracks and a great epic, being a worthy purchase both for newcomers and A.C.T's "aficionados".

My rating: ****

This review was originally written por ProgArchives.com
What makes me like A.C.T so much is their unique blending of styles.

Since I listened to their debut Today's Report, I've payed more and more attention, cause they're Progressive Metal, but they aren't, they're AOR, but they aren't, they're are classic Prog Rock, but they aren't.

THAT makes them interesting, you can see a heavy riff AND a violin, like in 'A Supposed Tour'. You have all these pop melodies all around, and Herman Saming vocals are unique!

I guess they have a unique sound in general, I, at least, don't know any other band that looks like them!

It's good to see they are recording a new album right now as I'm writting this little review.

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