Sunday, April 6, 2014

PRETTY MAIDS: "Louder Than Ever" [CD+DVD]

Rating: Comp.
Label: Frontiers 2014
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Hear the cry from label's past - downloading is killing our music industry. Here's a couple of more things to add to the long list of dodgy business. Releasing five different issues or the special edition of each and every album or like the Pretty Maids, re-recording old songs from your back catalogue. What's the point? Some of the artists are obviously doing this to avoid legal problems and ownership. It's not extremely difficult to get hold of the Maids' material from the years inbetween 1995 to 2006.

In my opinion. Songs are memories and statements specially written by a band/artist at a particular time of their career. You're not meant to re-record stuff or take advantage of new technology since it's just plain wrong. It's sort of like art (like it or not) and speaking of Pretty Maids, don't mess with Mona Lisa? These songs are hardly perfect or the work of genius. Far from it. I'm merely trying to say, let the past be the past. People have special needs for their memories to certain songs or albums. Are some re-recordings better than others? Well. Perhaps if you have the new vocalist onboard? By the way. New tech, not always the same as the improved sound, since it's all down to the quality of the engineer and his ears. The old desk, vintage microphones, the know how to pair the right microphone with the right instrument etc. the key to any good production.

Ehem. Let's move on to the good stuff about 'Louder Than Ever'. Four new songs and opener, 'Deranged', exactly what the title may suggest. Raspy vocals by Atkins, hard hitting riff, dodgy metal refrain? The standard throw-away rocker and definitely meat and potato stuff. Lyrically, the story of a mad gun man and violent to the extreme. 'My Soul To Take', the melodic tune with a catchy hook. 'Nuclear Boomerang', yet another straight a-head rocker with plenty of balls. The cracking ballad of 'A Heart Without A Home', the sad little sob story about loneliness and never finding your place in time or space. Overall the neat 4-track EP plus 8 re-recordings of the past.

The DVD? Basically the 40+ minute roadmovie 'Why So Serious' - the unveiled story that will show you how it is to be on tour with the geezers. Backstage banter, various nonsense, jokes, more nonsense, balloons, behind the scene stuff, pre-show warm up and singing ABBA (Dancing Queen) and Bee Gees (How Deep Is Your Love) while in Japan. Ronnie is spot on with the phrasing and nasal sound of what's his name again? the surviving member of Gees', Maurice? No idea. Do the google if needed. Atkins is more or less Denmark's version of Biff Byford and the natural leader of the gang. The interviews are short, direct, and mostly about tour memories (the good old days and Monsters of Rock 1987), killing time on the bus, no privacy, been there, done that, we're all like a family, etc. Major shock value of the DVD - Morten Sandager (keyboards) playing Italo disco and Sabrina's old hit, 'Boys, Boys, Boys'. Ehem. Yeah. We sure do recall the lady and her big pair of... lungs. What's more? The odd 1990 clip and more recently from Wacken. The day out in Germany and driving the Tank (Tiger). Also the voice of producer Jakob Hansen and why they decided to d-tune the guitars on the re-recorded stuff. Sound quality may differ a lot and the lack of subtitles may not suggest the perfect roadmovie. It's all fun and giggles though and sadly not a pretty maid in sight (merely five ugly geezers).

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