Cleopatra 2024

Back In Time

Swiss rock-a-doodle combo celebrate their quarter-century run with a dozen delicious slices of swagger.

Zurich might not be famous for its rock ‘n’ roll scene but there is one, blooming against all odds with no sign of neutrality associated with its locale, and this particular ensemble swing with a lot of panache as though there’s no tomorrow – and who cares about a new day, anyway, if retro-styled riches are always ripe for reaping? The listener wouldn’t mind traveling to the past, of course, because singers Emanuela Hutter and Oliver Baroni, who started and still lead the quartet, provide a perfect guidance into the labyrinth of affection, heartbreak and other opposites that seem mutually attractive. The group’s genre amplitude undulating across a few decades, their songs veer between feisty and soft to stay arresting throughout.

But the foursome don’t just offer such sonic dichotomy in the album’s opening numbers, the relentlessly punchy “Sometimes Late At Night” and the heartwarmingly intimate “Summerlove” which find Emanuela respectively raging about unhappy marriages over Duncan James’ six-string rumble and cooing sweet nothings over anguished pedal steel. The band also drill down to morbid affairs in the courage-seeking “Death By My Side” which, as the platter’s penultimate track, prepares the audience for the triumphant country finale of “Reno” yet fails to acknowledge the use of “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” for its spaghetti-western undercurrent. However, while “Knocked Down” sees Oliver jive with much gusto and spank the piece’s twangy via his slap bass, and “I Live In My Head” gets high on Sylvan Petite’s simple beat, “1979” is throbbing with a post-punk attitude. And whereas the riff-driven “Jet Fuel Rock And Roll” sticks to irresistible titular essentials, and the handclaps-propelled “Let’s Go (Back In Time)” pushes one to the dancefloor, the reggae cover of “Nothing Takes The Place Of You” proposes a respite from the frantic rug-cutting.

This record is an invitation for a temporal warp that can’t be refused.


March 6, 2024

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