Black Paisley 2020
Setting hopes higher and higher, Scandinavian artists strut their fiery stuff in style.
Having changed a half of their line-up, this Swedish ensemble come back with half an album – or so “Rambler” could seem to be if its eight songs, clocking in about half an hour, didn’t feel as fulfilling. The quartet’s fans learned by now: the group’s gloomy imagery, skulls and whatnot, should not fool anyone, because singer Stefan Blomqvist, bassist Jan Emanuelsson and their colleagues are firmly set on having fun while the rest of the world is going to hell. And that’s what the foursome do here, on the band’s third offering.
From the inflammatory riffs of “Damned” where rock ‘n’ roll licks simultaneously underline and undermine heavy groove and infectious melody – as new members, axeman Franco Santunione and drummer Robert Karaszi, spice up the playful whole – to the mighty, anthemic closer “Give It Up” there’s hardly a minute the listener will not enjoy and decline to join in. The band pour bluesy lava in “Without Us” before wrapping its arena-sized chorus in vocal harmonies without slowing down the drive, but the drift get serious in “Higher Love” – with Blomqvist’s voice gaining a vibrato and the pace getting more grounded, although the collective’s swagger remains the same, and in “Timeless Child” – with a six-string assault going dark, if exquisite.
It turns a tad superficial for the too-sentimental, well-orchestrated waltz of “Falling” and for the AOR-styled “Save The Best” that still can cause a football field to sway, yet everything is set to return to marching panache on “Take Me To The River” – the best mélange of the ensemble’s hard-rock influences. Little by little, rambling but surely, the ensemble inhabit their chosen space, and this little album should be a tasty testament to the process.