Europe – Always The Pretenders – EP

Reviewed: February 2007
Released: 2006, Sanctuary Records/Sound Pollution
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

Sweden’s biggest melodic hard rock act is back with a new album called SECRET SOCIETY from which this EP is taken. Today’s Europe is a long shot from the keyboard-based melodic hard rock they used to play. Now their music leans more towards guitar-based melodic rock with a more mature approach. The big question for Europe today is to whom they appeal. Older fans are certainly not going to recognize the band’s new musical direction, and I think it’s going to be hard to gain any new fans as well.

This EP features the song “Always the Pretenders” twice: once as a radio edit and once as an album version. There are also two unreleased live songs called “Flames” and “Superstitious”. Both songs were recorded at B.B. King’s in New York, most likely during the band’s last world wide tour.

“Always the Pretenders” is an excellent choice for a first single from the upcoming album. It’s a radio hit with a catchy chorus which is pretty representative of the entire album. The two live songs sound not at all good; for some reason the sound is awful and it gives the recordings a bootleg feeling. This EP is not one of the best things I’ve heard from Europe and is probably the most fun for hardcore fans, and it represents the new album quite well.


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Track Listing:
Always The Pretenders (radio edit)
Always The Pretenders (Album version)
Flames (live)
Superstitious (live)

Joey Tempest – lead vocals
John Norum – guitar
Mic Michaeli – keyboards
Ian Haugland – drums
John Levén – bass