The Poodles – Performocracy (2011, Frontiers Records)
1. I Want It
2. Until Our Kingdom Falls
3. Father To A Son
4. I Believe In You
5. Cuts Like A Knife
6. As Time Is Passing
7. Love Is All
8. Your Time Is Now
10. Bring Back The Night
11. Vampire’s Call
12. Into The Quiet Night
13. Don’t Tell Me [demo version]
Jakob Samuel – Vocals
Henrik Bergqvist – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Pontus Egberg – Bass, Backing Vocals
Christian Lundqvist – Drums, Backing Vocals
Producer: Mats Valentin
I had heard of The Poodles for a few years but had never listened to them until I watched their In the Flesh DVD that was released last year. It was equal parts documentary, interviews and live performances and all of the guys in the band came across as pretty cool and down to earth and I liked the music I heard.
If you’re not familiar with The Poodles they are a melodic hard rock band from Sweden that combine AOR, heavy metal and ’80s hard rock. I believe at times they have referred to themselves simply as “heavy metal” but I honestly think that’s just a small part of their sound. They are much more driven by a melodic rock and glam metal sound than by heavy metal, IMO (and Jakob Samuel reminds me of Vince Neil). But at the same time, while some of their sounds are delightfully cheesy they still retain a modern touch. These guys are absolute hook masters. These songs just suck you in. The whole album is heavy yet commercial and most of these songs became stuck in my head after only a few listens.
“Cuts Like A Knife” I believe was the first single and is my favorite track on the album. Despite the somewhat upbeat music, the lyrics are about holding onto ex-love that isn’t coming back, something I think most people in the world can relate to. Then there’s the touching “Love Is All”, which features Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at the beginning and has some great lyrics there as well. Another top notch song is “Action!” which has a slightly darker sound than the rest of the album.
The Poodles seem to be one of those bands whose lyrics I have latched onto and really enjoyed. Most of the songs deal with some form of love: romance, heartbreak, family, betrayal, peace, etc. but songs like “I Want It All” and “Your Time Is Now” have a positive message behind them about living your life to its fullest and not being scared to do so.
“Don’t Tell Me” is noted as a bonus track and is said to be a demo but it sounds just as polished and just as good as the rest of the album and actually turns out to be a highlight. I’m not familiar with the band’s back catalog so maybe this is a song that’s been released in some form in the past.
Fans of ’80s pop metal and melodic rock should not pass this one up. This album is a true highlight of 2011 and has strengthened my resolve to check out their previous albums.
Highlights: “I Want It”, “Until Our Kingdom Falls”, “I Believe In You”, “Cuts Like A Knife”, “As Time Is Passing By”, “Love Is All”, “Action!”, “Into The Quiet Night”, “Don’t Tell Me”