Sweet Trade

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The second album by Swedish glam-metal supergroup the Poodles largely stays on the line defined by 2006's fine debut Metal Will Stand Tall: smart, snarky pop-metal delivered with dry wit and plenty of three-chord crunch. Leader Jakob Samuel's old-school hair metal vocals and knack for memorably catchy choruses serve him well on tracks like the opening stomper "Flesh and Blood," the winningly melodic "Without You," and spirited first single "Seven Seas." Though perhaps not as consistently melodic as Metal Will Stand Tall, the 13 tracks here (including an acoustic version of "Seven Seas" at the album's end) are a generally solid blend of the '80s heyday of glammy pop-metal and the darker edges of the modern Scandinavian scene, the former best exemplified by the lighter-ready power ballad "We Are One" and the latter by the heavier thud of "Thunderball" and "Heaven's Closing In." In a metal scene over-dominated by the humorless grind and angsty world views of post-hardcore and black metal, the unapologetic positive vibes and tongue in cheek lipstick look of the Poodles makes for a refreshing, enjoyable change.

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