Pop War (Vinyl) Import
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Vinyl LP pressing. 2012 album from this Swedish band led by Nicke Andersson, formerly of The Hellacopters. The album contains 10 songs recorded in Gutterview Studios, Stockholm (SE). Since the release of the self-titled debut album 2010, the band has logged most of the big festivals, played support to both Guns n' Roses and Kiss, toured in Sweden, Spain, Germany and also found time to release the E.P. In Concert, containing studio versions of their live favorites.
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The CD opens with the power pop track "Uh Huh" which delivers the goods in a mere 1:44 seconds, track two "The Narrow Line" is a 70's hard rocker with killer riffs and bass too, track three "Can't Seem To Shake It Off My Mind" is a 70's pop tune with harmonizing chorus's and vocals, track four "Back On Main" is a shredder of the highest quality with great lyrics and some cool background vocals; this is a true highlight of the song writing ability of this band, track five "Waltz For Vincent" is a slow bass driven, gloomy tune which picks up on the chorus and drops back into the eerie gloom quite nicely, track six "Sheltered In The Sand" is another power pop tune with catchy chorus that will have your head nodding along, track seven "Empty Hands" reminds me of the Copters Rock N Roll Is Dead, it's a straight ahead rocker, track eight "Monarchy Madness" picks up the tempo again with a bit harder edge to it with some excellent riffs and vocal work, track nine "Deride and Conquer" is another excellent 70's rock fest, track ten "Enough To Break Your Heart" rounds out the disc with another power pop tune with some anthem lyrics and finishes out in instrumental fashion.
I want to point out that while I believe this is a another cracking release by a Nicke Andersson led band, some Hellacopter fans and even ISE fans may find some of the pop writing and sound in some of the songs a bit too much for their liking. There is plenty to hear on this CD from the guitar, bass and drum work, to some real different song writing. Keep in mind Nicke Andersson has always changed a bit from release to release and Pop War is no exception. This may divide some fans but there are some truly great songs on this Disc - Great Release 4.5/5 stars bumped to five on Amazon's rating scale.
1. Uh-Huh is a great opener that keeps a good pace with enough rocking guitars to satisfy a hard rock fan as well as a casual listener.
2. Narrow Line is a great rock song which also keeps a good tempo and rocking guitars. Both of these songs have a 70's retro sound, but still sound modern or fresh.
3. can't shake this feeling is definitely a retro song! This song has a softer sound than moist on the album, but with infectious grooves and great vocals it is a keeper. Kinda reminds me of 60's or 70's rock with no Metal influences.
4. Back on Main is one of my faves for sure. It reminds me of "No Angel to Lay me Away" from the Hellacopters. However, Back on main is a simplified song IMO. It is one of the heavier songs here, and is a great driving song!
5. Waltz for Vincent: This song sounds different than the others on the album. It is a slow song, but it is probably the deepest song on Pop war. Waltz gives Pop War some substance, and it is a great change of pace from the other songs on here. I'm sure it was placed 5th on the album intentionally... right after Back on main, and before Shelter in the Sand. If you listen to the album in order you will see what I mean.
6. Shelter in the Sand: This song fits in perfect on Paul Stanley's solo album from 1978. I actually dug up my Paul Stanley CD and listed to it after hearing Shelter. The amazing thing is that Nick's vocals even sound like Paul's without sounding like a stretch. And, I can't put a finger on which song it sounds like because it fuses many of the Stanley songs. Of course, Nick is a big KISS fan, and the Hellacopters recorded a song titled "Paul Stanley" No coincidence here! Trust me, you will get a nostalgic feeling on this one, and it won't go away :-)
7. Empty Hands: A good song which sounds like it could have been on RnR is dead or Head off. I particularly like the end, but they cut the song short. This song is good, but I feel like it could have been better. maybe they could have went balls out and made it heavier and longer? So close to being a classic!
8. Monarchy Madness: sounds like a Ramones song! Fast rocker... 1-2-3-4... No tricks here!
9. Deride and Conquer: Great song! One of the best on Pop War! It has a groovy retro sound that I can't quite explain. It could be the best song on here. I like that ISE kept the last 2 songs rocking, and did not throw those filler songs at the end that most bands do.
10. Enough to Break your heart: Great song to end the album. Sounds like a rockin Ted Nugent song! This is the longest song, but the instrumentals at the end are worth it. I actually would have liked to hear more long songs like this, but at least we have this one :-)
No matter, as this is a solid record, and easily recommended to Hellacopters fans, rock n' roll fans, and fans of 60s and 70s garage. The guitars, and particularly the solos, lack just a little bit of the spark of the best Hellacopters stuff, but the songwriting is solid, and the hooks are there. 'Narrow Line' and 'Empty Hands' are the standout tracks.