“The Time Optimist” is a solo album from Swedish guitarist and songwriter Mats Karlsson and it was released through MK Music on 6th December. Karlsson will be best known as a founding member of the band 220 Volt which released four albums in the 80’s and reformed in 2002. The new solo album features a number of guest musicians and singers, although much of it is done by Karlsson. The track “A Natural High” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 20th December.


Mats Karlsson founded the band 220 Volt in 1979 along with fellow guitarist Thomas Drevin. The band’s self-titled debut was released by CBS in 1983, followed by “Powergames” in 1984 and “Mind Over Muscle” in 1985. By that time Karlsson was the only original member of the band left. A fourth album, “Eye to Eye” was released in 1988 via Epic, but the band split in 1992. Karlsson and Drevin reformed the band in 2002 and they continue to perform with their latest album being “Walking in Starlight” in 2014.

“The Time Optimist” is Karlsson’s first solo album and he provides lead vocals, guitar and bass on all eleven tracks – with the exception of “Function Over Fashion”, on which Nalle Påhlsson (Therion, Treat etc) plays bass and “A Natural High” where he shares bass duties with Lars Ericsson.


Karlsson is joined on lead vocals by Jenny Fall for two tracks (including a cover of Sheryl Crow’s “Real Gone”) and by former 220 Volt lead singer Christer ‘Frille’ Åsell on another. Mats’ brother Ulf plays keyboards on four tracks, whilst drums / percussion is shared between Peter Hermansson (220 Volt, Talisman etc), Bjorn ‘Grizzly’ Höglund (Easy Action, Hoven Droven etc) and Mike Ajax.


Check out the Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/mk220v/

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This is purely a personal recommendation and some information about the artist and the album; not a traditional ‘review’. Most of the recommendations posted are for albums that have been sent to us digitally by the record label or promoter. Quite often I’ve also bought the album on CD or vinyl as well and sometimes I just feel the need to post a recommendation for an album that I’ve bought myself. Essentially these are albums that I like and which I’ve played some tracks from on the Shows on Rock Radio NI!