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2007, Lionheart International
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The Swedish act The Poodles is back with their second album SWEET TRADE. Earlier this year we got a sneak preview in the shape of the CDS SEVEN SEALS. The debut METAL WILL STAND TALL is reviewed in the LGR section for those who want to read more. I thought the debut gave an ambiguous impression; it felt like the guys didn’t really know in which direction they wanted to go and to whom the album should appeal. SEVEN SEAS didn’t reveal what we could expect from the new album – it sounded a lot like the last album did.
Singer Samuel says that the band wanted to challenge the conventional hard rock image and break some boundaries when it came to the picture people have regarding hard rock and metal. I think Samuel is wrong when he mentions metal and The Poodles in the same sentence because they are a very melodic hard rock band that has nothing to do with metal at all.
All of the members have been professional hard rock musicians for over 15 years and felt that they needed a challenge by entering the Swedish Eurovision Contest.
SWEET TRADE feels stronger and heavier than the debut, though, and I think the guys moved in the right direction within their music genre. Guitars have a more central position and make more noise than before; the production is sharper, edgier and heavier; and the mixed impression I got from the debut is totally blown away. A few well-known names guests on the album include actor Peter Stormare, Matti Alfonzetti, Mats Levén, Jonas Reingold and Göran Edman, amongst others.
The band wrote all of the material on their own (and don’t include any covers), though Samuel was more involved this time and was helped by Jonas Reingold and Mats Levén. The songs – like the production – feel stronger and heavier. There are, of course, a few ballads included that the band could have done without. “We Are One”, “Without You” and “Shine” are the commercial ballads this time. They are all melodic rock tracks with fake strings. The most positive thing about these songs is that Samuel shows off his lower register with passion and intensity.
My personal favorites are “Flesh and Blood”, “Streets of Fire”, “Thunderball”, “Reach the Sky”, “Band of Brothers”, “Heaven’s Closing In” and “Kiss Goodbye”. All of those are well-played melodic hard rock with lots of tempo and energy. Guitarist Norgren contributes with heavy guitars in most of the songs. Even though the songs are commercial, they work fine on a The Poodles album.
When this album is released they will also launch their second single called STREETS OF FIRE and they will then head out into < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />
Jacob Samuel – lead vocals
Christian “Kicken” Lundqvist – drums
More info about the band
Flesh and Blood
Streets of Fire
Walk the Line
Reach The Sky
We Are One
Band of Brothers
Heaven’s Closing in