It some big cojones to name your band after a species of dogs that are generally considered to be fuzzy bundles of four-legged cuteness and extravagance. Perhaps, that latter word can describe Swedish rockers The Poodles's approach to their music. They certainly don't to anything half way when delivering their catchy brand of melodic hard rock and metal.
Their fifth studio album, Tour de Force, is no exception to this. While still believing the debut Metal Will Stand Tall and its follow up Sweet Trade, to be The Poodles' best material, this album is up there. At the very least, it demonstrates their ongoing consistency in both their sound and performance.
The formula has always been rather simple, even if the songs are not, for The Poodles: big rock groove, strong melodies, hooks in lyrics and arrangements, and ripping guitar solos wrapped up in metal edged hard rock. If it ain't broke don't fix. Period.
You get this start with the very strong Misery Loves Company, the very funny Shut Up!, and Happily After. Not so much with with Viva Democracy which sounds too busy. The band rebounds with the rockers Going Down, Kings & Fools, Now Is The Time, and Miracle, complete with some Eighties cowbell. Then 40 Days and 40 Nights finds them settling down with a more pop flair. You get one in the adequate Leaving the Past to Pass. You get a bonus track with En For Alla For En (Swedish for 'One For All For One'), chosen to be the Swedish national hockey teams anthem for the upcoming World Hockey Championships. It's all basically standard Poodles material, and if you're a fan, as I am, you'll dig Tour de Force. Recommended.
Tour de Force is The Poodles doing what they do best, namely, very catchy metal-edged melodic hard rock. If you're a fan, as I am, you'll dig it.
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