Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pretty Wild-Pretty Wild

Dead End Exit Records

Pretty wild or fairly mild? That is the real question when it comes to Swedish four-piece. As the album opened with the oddly tame (given it's name and all) "Are You Ready" one has to wonder. Formed in 2006 (and splitting their time between Malmoe and Stockholm) Pretty Wild offer up this self-titled,14 song album as the follow-up to 2008's "All The Way". At first these guys, who are lead by Ivan Ivve Höglund, came across as sort of a lightweight Mötley Crüe meeting up with Autograph on the fairground circuit in an attempt at one more shot at glory. Make that arena rock glory. No wait, make that AOR glory. Or is it melodic rock glory? Maybe glam metal glory? With this bunch you're never quite sure as it seems as if they are not so sure easy as to where they want to go with this thing. That's not good folks. But thankfully (as the album moves along and the group starts to settle in) it's more like it's a little of this (Peter Frampton, Billy Squier, Journey, Kiss) and a little of that (Poison, Enuff Z'Nuff ) and while it's not great or anything it's much better then the early part of this album suggests. Not all of it mind you, but there are a couple of key moments where it looks as if they will be able to pull it all out of the fire. For sure there are some saving grace moments that help this band out a lot such as guitarist Axl Ludwig. He keeps "Pretty Wild" interesting by mixing up his leads. While a lot of what he plays would fit in perfectly well with the melodic rock/arena rock crowd and even the AOR scene he is able to punch things up when called for. "Staring At The Sun" for example finds Axl rolling out some (heavy) glam metal licks and he easily proves his worth as a shred guitarist. Of course following that up with a wimpy number like "High Enough" just kills any momentum whatsoever, but what can you do? If they stuck to that one area (the heavy rock/melodic hard rock/glam metal) and had more cuts like "Staring At The Sun" and "Wildheart" (which kind of sounds like an AOR version of Skid Row) this one would probably be stellar. They just don't though which drags this album down like a lead balloon. Does anyone really want to hear what Poison and Nelson would sound like if they jammed together? I can't imagine so. And yet that s exactly what it's like on "Come Out Tonight"! Mixing up your music is cool and all and Lord knows I like variety as much as the next person. But when things end up as either really good or just flat-out lame it makes it hard to keep your level of enthusiasm up for an album like this. Sure, there is a built-in crowd for bands like Pretty Wild and I'm sure that bunch will adore this sophomore release. For me though there were too many holes and not enough heavy hitters to justify recommended the whole album!


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