Reckless Love, InVader
With some exceptions, America’s modern fixation on the glam metal genre has mainly been rooted in nostalgia. However, the same cannot be said in other areas of the globe. Over the past decade, the classic Sunset Strip sound has resurfaced strongly through a new wave of bands in certain sections of Europe. Finland’s Reckless Love has been a leader in that charge over the past several years. Their musical approach has stood out from many of their contemporaries whose material was darker and heavier…think Motley Crue and Skid Row.
Reckless Love has revitalized the pop side of the genre with comparisons made to Poison and Bon Jovi. Albums like their self-titled debut and Animal Attraction beautifully showcased their ability to capture audiences with catchy hooks and visual charisma. It doesn’t hurt to have a striking frontman with ripped abs either. Since then, a gradual shift in sound has become apparent. 2013’s Spirit was the first step in this transformation. While the pop-metal remained, the album was not as straight forward as with the two previous records. It introduced jungle rhythms and tampered back on the hard rock tendencies of before. Their latest record, this year’s InVader, has seen that shift come full circle.
It’s a major departure from their classic sound. InVader sees the incorporation of dance-pop, new wave, and even rap brought into the fold. The album’s lead single, “Monster”, bears a striking resemblance to Lady Gaga in her visual and vocal style. The song (and much of the record) sees frontman Olli Herman laced in auto-tune and layered in overproduction. Another single, “Keep It Up All Night”, sounds like a cross between One Direction and Def Leppard. “Scandinavian Girls” is lyrically abysmal and holds a Miami Vice-like feel. “Pretty Boy Swagger” contains a cheesy introductory rap by Herman that is nothing except cringe-worthy. The record does include some true hard-rockers such as “Bullettime” and “Rock It”. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to overshadow the many flaws that exist. The infectious and sonic guitar tone of Pepe Reckless is too often drowned out by disappointing overall production.
There’s nothing wrong with a band expanding its reach through the evolution of its music. Reckless Love’s attempt here comes across as disingenuous and a desperate attempt to gain new audiences. They have shied too far away from what made them a solid four piece to begin with. The album may gain some new fans but alienate their existing base. It’s a risky move that will likely not pay off.
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