Europe - 'Last Look At Eden' (earMUSIC) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Friday, 11 September 2009 16:43


Europe_last_look_at_eden_albumLike a million other teenagers in 1986, my love affair with Europe began and ended with an album based around an infectious keyboard intro that would become a pop culture staple. It wasn't until the band had several tracks from the seminal 'The Final Countdown' album - although, not the title track - featured on the soundtrack of 2007 dumbass comedy movie 'Hot Rod' that I really started to take any kind of real interest in the band again, and that, honestly, was in ironic fashion; the movie's OST providing the soundtrack to many a nerd-fuelled road trip.


The Europe of 2009, however, is a very different animal. Any doubters who watched the band at this year's Bloodstock Open Air festival, where their announcement as the festival's closing act was met with some degree of disbelief by metal purists, were forced to eat humble pie as Sweden's biggest selling hard rock outfit appeared to win over even the most sceptical of denim clad concert goers.


And Humble Pie is a good term to apply to a review of 'Last Look At Eden', Europe's cultured walk into classic rock territory, although you wouldn't think it when the title track kicks in, fusing Life Of Agony's 'Love To Let You Down' to an expected dramatic chorus, this contemporary ass-kicker is at odds with Joey Tempest's claims that this album hosts a "definite classic rock vibe"......that is until 'Gonna Get Ready' struts out of the speakers. Using a vintage ouija board to summon up the spirit of classic pre-poodle perm Whitesnake - ironic in itself given that the MTV inspired peroxide mauling of David Coverdale was an obvious reaction to the success of bands like Europe - this song, and the next, 'Catch That Plane', are fat and funky 70's inspired rock songs that surely cannot fail to impress.


Did you read that right? Funky? Hell yeah! 'Mojito Girl' shakes a bell-bottomed leg in the direction of fellow countrymen Electric Boys, while 'U Devil U' grooves in a way that you never thought possible for this band. 'Run With The Angels' could easily be a tune dug up from a three decade old grave. Long time Europe fans should, however, fear not - every track on the album is swathed in the band's trademark soaring melodies, punctured by the assured and impressive vocal performance of Joey Tempest. It can't be long until Tempest is clawing at the upper reaches of those 'Top 100 Classic Rock Singers' lists that appear in print with alarming regularity. And fans of the more straightforward rock song shouldn't be disappointed with tracks like 'No Stone Unturned', 'Only Young Twice' and 'The Beast' which is a chugging creature of the night that borders on the massive.


These songs provide the backbone of 'Last Look At Eden' but you all know that there will also be a heart to any Europe release. 'New Love In Town' serves up the heartache by the bucketful while keeping the retro feel intact, and album closer 'In My Time' eases its way into your head with a bluesy vibe that showcases the cultured and soulful guitar playing of John Norum, whose influence on this record is huge.


Could Europe have made a better record in 2009? I don't think so. Great stuff.