Europe

Bag of Bones

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The ninth studio album from the Swedish metal veterans finds Europe singing the blues. Big, beefy, melodic, and bristling with '70s riffage and croaking Hammond B-3 swells, Bag of Bones, which follows 2009's more opulent Last Look at Eden, revels in hard rock clich├ęs, but does so with enough energy and attitude to warrant more than a cursory listen. The Led Zeppelin aping, as has been the case in the years since they achieved stadium rock sainthood with "The Final Countdown," is still in full effect, especially on the summery "That's the Way"/"Bron-Y-Aur Stomp"-inspired "Drink and a Smile," but at least they've got it down to a science. Caught somewhere between Badmotorfinger-era Soundgarden, early Deep Purple, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bag of Bones offers up some gems in the blistering Euro debt crisis opener "Riches to Rags," the neo-prog-pop of "Firebox," and the Bad Company-meets-Cinderella balladry of the moody title cut.

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