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ALBUM REVIEW: EXTREME – ‘SAUDADES DE ROCK’

Album review previously published on ANTENNA magazine website in 2008:

EXTREME – SAUDADES DE ROCK (Frontiers)

Extreme are back. Perhaps the latest in a long line of reunions that the public never knew they wanted. But reunited they have, and before our very eyes with a brand new album.

 

The album immediately packs a punch with lead single Star sounding exactly like the Extreme you remember; it has the funk, the cool, and the earmarked Queen vibe to it (actually bearing similarities to the latter’s Tie Your Mother Down in parts)

But interestingly enough, past that the album goes into different territory. Riffs are colossal like a 70’s rock behemoth, the funk is thrown through the window like an unwanted Living Colour album, and you find yourself conjuring up names like Zeppelin and Grand Funk Railroad – “Take Us Alive” has the boys spreading themselves like a blues country rock outfit veering off the train track from moonshine fumes.

Unfortunately as good as that may sound, it doesn’t pave the way for the whole album, and what starts off as a promising return to Extreme’s heyday with a new found influence unfortunately quickly descends into background music.
Saudades De Rock
is definitely lacking something. It lacks the catchiness and choruses that made them who they were. It lacks the thrill factor and musical intricacies that 1993’s underrated classic III Sides To Every Story is laden with. Where’s the 70-piece orchestra I ask!

Maybe it’s the length of the album. Nothing really hits you in the face during the second half of the album and you end up asking yourself, how long has this CD been playing and when will it end?

On the upside – and controversially – what makes the album stand out is actually in some of the more chilled out Van Halen III-esque parts. Slower songs like Last Hour and Ghost are finely crafted gems giving the album its lease of life and Interface will have you on the shower mic in no time. So yes, it does have more sentiment than a French dressed salad with courgette and cous cous, but at least the salad is still fresh, and the greatest thing about them is that they don’t veer into cheesy territory. There’s no trying to reacquaint themselves with the past. More Than Words can Get The Funk Out.

This is a well-crafted album though, and a positive return to form; Nuno has done a great job producing, and the band sound glued together with a tight spirit. Of course it’s undeniably Extreme – but it’s a grown up affair. It’s how you’d expect, and want them to have grown up.

And unlike many of their counterparts, it’s nice to see them acting their age – can you imagine the sight of Cherone getting funky in his MC Hammer pantaloons again? It’s enough to make you go prematurely bald.

 

Gary Sutherland © 2008.