Released: 2013, Frontiers Records
Swedish rockers The Poodles are back with their fifth album in eight years. The band was a (somewhat) dubious entry in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, but has thankfully gone their own way since then with a fruitful partnership with the prolific Frontiers Records.
Their last album, 2011’s PERFORMOCRACY was a solid piece of hard rock, filled with hooks and melodies, and TOUR DE FORCE is no different. This album continues the band’s established trend with another 13 cuts of hard rock goodness. Although the band largely stays within hard rock conventions, they keep things moving throughout the album’s running time and throw in the occasional musical curveball to keep you guessing. While a song like “40 Days and 40 Nights” is pure hard rock, “Viva Democracy” has a riff that sounds re-worked from Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People”, while “En For Alla For En” is both anthemic and mildly electronic. With a band that’s been doing the same style for so long, it’s often these slight departures that make you stand up and take notice.
While you can’t fault the band for providing an abundance of content, as with their last album, TOUR DE FORCE would benefit from trimming two or three songs from the list. No song is truly bad, but some like “Godspeed” are quickly forgotten and are quite obviously filler.
The Poodles have become a very reliable hard rock institution and have deservedly amassed many fans worldwide. TOUR DE FORCE is another fan-pleasing effort and an easily enjoyable album.