I don’t know how people in other countries see this band, but in Sweden they are to many rockers a bit of a joke. By calling themselves The Poodles and participating in the Swedish Song Contest twice, they have been painting themselves into a corner. Specially when their music isn’t the most Metal of all. All those facts doesn’t exactly promise longevity. That’s why a lot of people, including me, are a bit surprised that the band is on their fourth album. I would have expected them to manage no more than two before calling it quits. But after listening to this album, I’m glad they keep on rocking because they are much, much better than their name. I mean, let’s be honest, it is a pretty stupid name. Now, not all of their albums have been great. Their debut, Metal Will Stand Tall (how’s that for a Manowar title?) was an uneven story, the follow-up Sweet Trade was a real good one but last album Clash of The Elements was a bit disappointing. That’s why it feels good to note that their new album is an hour of really good AOR-ish hard rock. And it’s a shame that so many people will dismiss them just because of their name, because I think they really deserve success.
The boys aren’t exactly newcomers in the business. They are all middle-aged men who’s been playing hard rock for all of their lives, struggling hard but never gotten into the major league. With this album, they really should. ”I Want It All” is brilliant, catchy as hell, ”I Believe In You” is heavy stuff, much heavier than we’re used to and ”Cuts Like A Knife”, the first single, is great and should be a big hit. In ”Bring Back The Night” they show some Nickelback influences, but that’s all good. It fits like a glove and the song is great. ”Into The Quiet Night” is catchy, but very heavy and maybe the best song on here. For the first time The Poodles has made an album without one weak track, even though there are a couple that falter a bit. A very good album that contains more hard rock and less Eurovision. This is easily the best Poodles album to date and if you can look past their silly name, there are some great radio friendly AOR-ish hard rock to be found here.
Jon Wilmenius (8/10)