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BWO - Fabricator
As a reviewer for QX Magazine I had the privilege to be one of the first in the world to hear the fabulous new album from BWO, but since the reviw (out now in the september number of QX Magazine, download it here) only where allowed to be 1750 characters long and there was so much to be said, I posted my long version of the review here in my blog.
I have to confess that I had almost kicked BWO out from my list of my favorite Swedish pop bands. OK, I liked Halcyon Days when it was released, but I never understood the singles they released from it; ballad after ballad after ballad after zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Then they released Halcyon Night which was totally meaningless if you already had bought the singles, and even if I thought the first single (the Alcazar cover Save My Pride) from Fabricator was ok, I still found it a bit dull. The thing that almost made me loose my interest completely was when I first heard Rhythm Drives Me Crazy live, and thought it was very promising…but then when I bought it at iTunes I just thought it was repetitive and a Don't You Want Me-clone…
Don't misunderstand me. I do love BWO, but I guess I just have had higher hopes for them and for everything Alexander Bard as an old devoted Alcazar-fan, breeded on my first musical gods Army of Lovers.
Fortunately, the next thing I heard from Fabricator was the melancholy second single Let it Rain which I liked better and better every time I heard it, and I slowly started to get my hopes up again both for BWO and for the new album – hoping it would sound more like Prototype than the ballads on Halcyon Days.
And hey – it (almost) turned out that way!
I say 'almost', because there are some unnecessary ballads here and I do have higher demands for BWO now then I had when Prototype came out…but this is one (in my opinion well needed) step back and a at the same time a giant leap forward.
To summarize this record in a few words you can say that this is an Alexander Bard Greatest Hits CD mixed up in a gigantic blender and portioned out in 13 new tracks (there are actually 16 tracks on the album, but I really can't understand why Chariots of Fire is doing a comeback here… I can live with the The Attic-remixes of two of the albums tracks (one of them is a party version of the next-single-to-be ballad The Destiny of Love) though). Here are songs that could have been the new Alcazar single (and as we all know here's also an Alcazar cover) and here are sounds reminding me of both Army of Lovers and Midi, Maxi & Efti (!), while the lyrics still permeates with the technical love of Vacuum. Everything is of course shamelessly commercial and easy on the ear, and this time around the thefts from other songs are better done and the production a bit more varied. I might have preferred a little bit more sadness as in Gone or Living in a Fantasy, but hey – I guess you can't get everything.
Most of the days, Fabricator is an album clearly reaching the same heights as Prototype, and I know their true fans will love it to bits and probably will disagree with everything slightly negative I've written above and below. It's simply an easy album to love, and I sincerely hope they will release all the party tracks as singles this time around.
I give the album four freshly made salted-just-right popcorn out of five as a whole, and each song are graded here below, and I just might be the best BWO album yet!
And here are the songs…
1. Last Flight To San Francisco
A close relative to Prototypes opening number Sixteen Tons of Hardware kicks off Fabricator; Rolinski sings about crashed discos and gamma rays in a song that smells both of ABBA and your standard James Bond-theme. A song that feels like the definition of a BWO-pop song.
2. Give Me The Night
The perfect love child breaded from Halcyon Days simplistic pop songs and Prototypes heavier beats and more electronic sounds. Pure party. Fantastic!
3. Let It Rain
I love this melancholy midtempo song with all its water sounds. One of their best singles ever and it grows on me for every time I hear it.
4. The Destiny Of Love & 16. The Destiny Of Love (The Attic Remix Radio Edit)
This is the ballad rumored to be their next single. Even if you hardly can call me a big fan of either lyrics like "Scorpio Rising" or this type of butter dripping hug-a-paloozas in the school of We Could Be Heroes, I'll accept it both for pure nostalgic reasons and for the simple reason that there are not that many ballads this time around. I'll even admit that I quite like it.
A (the Attic) remix is actually motivated for once, since it transforms the song into a nice disco tune instead.
The title translates to "I'm Sorry" in Japanese, but this is clearly not a song to make excuses for. It's probably the song on the album that mostly reminds of their Melodifestivalen-hit Temple of Love and I wouldn't be surprised if they turn it into a single. Superb!
6. We Should Be Dancing
Love at first si…hearing. A song that might be more of Marrakech (my favorite song on Halcyon Days) than of Temple of Love, but which could have been successfully competing in Melodifestivalen with its nice, heavy beats, its funny little sounds, its funny (sort of) key-change and its cool lyrics telling us that we should be dancing but we choose to fight. The best song on the album in my ears.
7. Stay with you again
As you probably noticed by now, I'm not the biggest fan of BWO doing ballads…to say the least…but that shouldn't fool you to believe this is a bad song. It is not. It's quite OK in an Obsession kind-a-mood (the BWO version – not the Army of Lovers one), but for me it's one of the skip-to-next-songs of the album.
8. Rhythm Drives Me Crazy
You've probably already heard it. A less successful variation of Human Leagues Don't You Want Me, which Alcazar by the way in my opinion made a far better ordinary cover of. It's OK, but I grew tired of it too quick to give it more than a two out of five.
9. Save My Pride & Save My Pride (The Attic Remix Radio Edit)
Speaking of Alcazar – here's another song BWO do OK but that Alcazar already have done better. The The Attic-remix is OK, but since it was already included on the single release of the song I guess I've heard it to much already.
Now we're talking! Suddenly a song appears that sounds nothing like the other ones. This album's Rhythm Divine if you compare it to Prototype. Back beats, Hammond organ (I think…please don't kill me if I'm wrong), whispers, robot voices, and a bunch of other strange sounds make up a midtempo tune with a strong feeling of the 60's. A small favorite that I tend to forget, and so close to be given a four it is not even funny.
11. Hooked on the Danger
It starts with different sounds of the 80s, and then turns into something similar to European Psycho on Prototype (minus the ABBA-tune). Mostly reminded by me as being the song in which Marina Schiptjenko says the title of the album, but a solid three-out-of-five.
12. Concrete Jungle
The beginning borrows some notes from Tainted Love by Soft Cell, but as it goes on I hear more of the Army of Lovers-favorite Lit de Parade. Also an "almost a four out of five"-song, but the songs here at the end of the album suffers from the ones in the beginning. they're just TOO good .
13. Paradise On Mars
Anyone out there who remembers My Earth Angel from Orup's English record? Pretend that tune having a baby with We Could Be Heroes or Open Door and you're almost there. But as you know by now: Me + BWO + ballad are not = a good match.
14. Chariots Of Fire
As a start on Halcyon Days it was massive…I gave it five out of five back then...but as a final on Fabricator it is just feels misplaced. And old.
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