THE POODLES – Tour De Force

The Poodles - Tour De ForceI can almost guarantee that most people who read this, at least Swedish and Scandinavian people, will do it while making a funny face or a smirk, especially if you’re a hardrocker or a metal head. And that is because of one thing: their name. I can’t think of one band with less credibility than The Poodles (well, maybe Bon Jovi, but they suck so they don’t deserve any…). And I can understand it because it really is a stupid name for a band. Sure, you’ll hear it once and never forget about it, but still, if you want to be taken seriously you shouldn’t call your band something like that. On the other hand, it’s not very clever to judge a band by its name and we native Swedish rockers have known about the members of this band for ages – and we all know that they are as good as they make them. All of the guys have the respect as musicians by most people, but as soon as the name Poodles comes up, the “true” (how ridiculous to call yourself true) rockers wrinkle their noses and go “yuuuck!!!”

But not this guy. I couldn’t give a crap about “true” or “cool” or “hip” and whatnot. Besides, I find it weird that The Poodles are now on their fifth album, they sell well and they draw a pretty big crowd on tour, but who buys their records and visits their shows if everybody hates their guts? My guess is that most “true” people aren’t that “true” after all. And one can only hope because The Poodles’ music is way better than their name. Where their first album Metal Will Stand Tall (2006) (Manowar anyone?) was an uneven give to say the least, they quickly made up for that with their follow up Sweet Trade (2007). Where their 2009 album Clash Of The Elements was just ok, the band really found themselves with 2011’s Performocracy, an album which really showed how much the band has developed and that they are plenty more than just another Eurovision Song Contest rock band (they entered the Swedish contest twice). The sound had grown harder and they showed us a more mature band. Which leads us to their brand new album Tour De Force.

It’s enough just to listen the opening riff of the song no 1, “Misery Loves Company” to understand that the heaviness of the last album wasn’t just a one-off – quite the contrary. If anything, The Poodles have become even heavier and that suits them very well. The song isn’t just heavy, it is also great – and so is “Shut Up” that follows – a sleazy ass kicker and I can’t help but to smile to myself. Would all the “true” and “cool” people still think the band is lame after listening to this? I would think not. “Happily Ever After” and “Viva Democracy” are two brilliant numbers that has all the classic Poodles elements, only heavier, “Going Down” is a real killer with its catchy chorus over the heavy foundation and “Kings And Fools” is so heavy that it borders to metal – awesome! On the more negative side, although not entirely bad, is “Leaving The Past To Pass”, a decent ballad, but a bit too futile and “40 Days And 40 Nights”, which is good, but in the end just another Poodles pop song, nothing more. But “Godspeed” brings everything back to life again. It’s an amazing song, really heavy and full of melodies catchy as it gets, “Now Is The Time” is real melodic hard rock with a great refrain and “Only Just Begun” closes the album in a different kind of way. The song is heavy and dark, metal in the verses, but with a big chorus. The song isn’t even 5 minutes long but it still feels epic – Well done! For people who still buys CDs gets their anthem written soley for the Swedish ice hockey team and for this year’s World Championship (which Sweden won, I might add :-D) “En För Alla För En” (One For All For One). It’s a nice and catchy little piece, but in the company of the rest of this album’s tunes, it kinda feels trifle.

I dare all of you who have dismissed the Poodles for a lame and wimpish bunch of wannabe hard rock musicians to take a listen to this album, because this is a killer album. For all of you who already like them – this is easily their best effort to date – very, very close to a 9/10 rating. This is melodic hard rock, with bona fide musicians at its best and if melodic hard rock is what gets you going, you’d be a fool not to check this album out.

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)

Tracklist:

01. Misery Loves Company
02. Shut Up!
03. Happily Ever After
04. Viva Democracy
05. Going Down
06. Leaving The Past To Pass
07. 40 Days And 40 Nights
08. Kings & Fools
09. Miracle
10. Godspeed
11. Now Is The Time
12. Only Just Begun
13. En För Alla För En (bonus track – physical edition only)

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2 comments on “THE POODLES – Tour De Force

  1. I remember after 9/11, Anthrax joked that they would change their name to “Basket of Puppies”.

    I’ve never actually heard of these guys before though! I kinda like what I hear. If there was one element that I don’t like, it’s the drums. For my own tastes, too modern/processed sounding. You know what I mean?

  2. Yup. Many albums these days have that kind of drum sound. A bit annoying but not enuff to ruin the whole experience.
    But you should give these guys a go. There is also a review of their last album in Melodic Rock 2011.

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