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HARDWARES

PRETTY MAIDS

Motherland

(Frontiers)

Reviewed by : Mark Gromen
Rating : 7.0

A great album can carry a band forever, or so it would seem. Usually they soar to loftier heights than PRETTY MAIDS have been able to muster, although the Danes have toured the world (finally making it back to the States in 2012) for more than three decades! The eponymous ‘83 Ep (sometimes referred to as Shelly The Maid Ep, for the song and female cover art) got the ball rolling, but Red Hot & Heavy solidified the Maids (who have ironically, never featured a female member) as a metal band, although the sound never fully returned to that level of urgency, nor aggression. During the dearth of guitar oriented hard rock in the Nineties, PRETTY MAIDS became a continental BON JOVI, surviving solely on the Japanese market. Never forgotten, but ultimately rediscovered by Europe, via oldies catalog festival appearances, it led to signing with Euro labels once again. So do any of the latest approach the likes of ‘Back To Back’, ‘Cold Killer’ or even ‘Yellow Rain’? Come on… A dozen songs (plus spoken word ‘Confession’ introduction), most of the smoothly polished, mid-tempo variety, including a modern, slightly staccato ‘Hooligan’. That’s not to say Motherland isn’t worth the time. If you’re already a fan, it offers few surprises, from the keyboard laden ballad of ‘Infinity’ to the brooding ‘Who What Where When Why’ or politically tinged ‘To Fool A Nation’. With an ear to yesteryear, the upbeat, bass rumbling ‘Motherland’ blows the dust of the kick drums, delivering the most spirited performance herein. ‘Iceman’ and gritty ‘I see Ghosts’ also get the head bobbling. Those intrigued by the re-emergence of a seemingly (albeit an incorrect assumption) long dormant name, would be better served by checking out either of the live albums issued in the last decade, or, naturally the earliest stuff. Truthfully, any excuse to have PRETTY MAIDS out there promoting/playing live is OK in my book.



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