Moneybrother

Real Control

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Anders Wendin (aka Moneybrother) may not be a familiar name in North America, but he's a Pop Star of the first magnitude in Scandinavia and Europe, and he sure sounds like one on his fifth album, Real Control, where he shows off the confidence and swagger of a guy who knows his way around an arena-size stage or a recording studio. Real Control also finds Moneybrother changing up his style just a bit; while Joe Strummer and Bruce Springsteen were clear and audible influences on his earlier work, on this one, classic glam rock is an obvious part of the formula. The dance-friendly strut of "Born Under a Bad Sign" recalls Queen in the era when John Deacon's basslines carried the day, and the heart-on-my-sleeve ballad "6 AM" both lyrically and melodically channels David Bowie at his most melodramatic. Moneybrother clearly isn't afraid of the grand gesture, and on Real Control he shows he has the talent and the charisma to pull it off; if his voice is a bit rough around the edges, he has the right instincts to make the most of what he's got (he can also find a window of clarity when he needs it), and his songs are clever and imaginative while still boasting the melodies and rock action to make them play on a big canvas. And Wendin adds just the right touch of understated humor to this music; "(Guess Who's Gonna) Get Some Tonight" may sound like vintage heartland rock, but the tongue-in-cheek lyrics play with the formula, and it's hard to argue with the cheeky philosophical statement in the reggae-laced "We Die Only Once (And for Such a Long Time)." (And rest assured, neither your disc or your CD player are defective, "Showdown" really ends that way.) Moneybrother sounds like a Grade A Rock Star, but one who is still having fun with his music and his formula, and Real Control shows Americans would do well to catch on to what our Swedish friends already know.

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