Another day, another in the seemingly endless stream of albums coming out of Sweden in the field of classy AOR/Hard Rock. Malmo’s Pretty Wild are no newcomers to the scene, having been releasing material since midway through the last decade, but there’s a freshness to their new album, Interstate 13, that’s mighty pleasing to the ear despite the band offering nothing new to the sound they purvey.
Give It All Tonight is genuinely exciting, despite being nothing more than a rehash of the sort of stuff Europe were producing at the end of the eighties; Axl Ludwig is a mighty fine guitarist, and it’s his uber-melodic soloing here that lifts the song out of the mire of mere pastiche. Likewise his muscular riffage – though buried in the mix – on opener Let’s Get It Out which sounds like a delirious mix of fellow Swedes Treat and Danish pretty boys Fate. Which is a pretty incendiary mix indeed! But whatever sound he recalls, Ludwig is a serious axe-playing proposition.
Pretty Wild lose points in the production stakes – they simply can’t hold a candle in this department to the new Crazy Lixx album, for instance, and in the at times frail vocals of Ivan Ivve Höglund, whose voice sounds a little autotuned at times and lacks the sheer balls out power and effortless melodicism of Danny Rexon, to extend the CL simile. But that said Interstate 13 is a rip-roaring enjoyment machine for the most part, and only a real curmudgeon would let these small quibbles spoil the enjoyment engendered by the muscular yet melodic Meant For Trouble and I Love It.
In short, you’ll have to go a fair way in 2019 to hear songs as immediate as Give It All Tonight or guitar playing of the consistently high calibre of Ludwig’s, so put your grumpy trousers in the cupboard for the duration of Interstate 13 and just prepare three quarters of an hour of backcombed fun and games – you know you want to!
Interstate 13 is out now.