The time has come! After Al Pride released their 4-track EP “Spruce” (Radicalis Music) in spring with an increased line-up, the eight-member band from Baden now follows on with an album. Their fourth album is called “Sweet Roller” (08/28/2020, Radicalis Music), comprises eight songs and is exactly what good pop music should be in 2020 – catchy and distinctive, savvy and subversive.
“Hunger” with its lasciviously charged vibe, “Kalif Onya” with sunny consumer criticism, the up-tempo groove miracle “Another Vibe” and “Sober By Tomorrow” as a melancholic-introverted pause form the centre of the album. Packed in a wonderfully rich and warm production, the four “Spruce” tracks embedded between four new songs unfold their full power. Each song opens a door to a new, small musical world.
The sweeping, eponymous opener “Sweet Roller”, which rolls with a heavy but elegant groove, acoustic guitars and a slightly sparked bass line – true to its name – almost shamelessly smooth until an opulent outro puts an end to the meditative pull of the song.
“If You Go Down” (single release July 31, 2020, Radicalis Music) follows with a lyrically highly up-todate handicraft woven into a metronomy-like groove synth carpet. “Forever High” is the driving ballad of the album. The chorus` catchy synth hook, paired
with the deeply relaxed vocal lines, makes the song an insider tip. Rounding it all off is “Feeding Fire”: Spherical, harmoniously growing parts are broken through by screaming lead guitars and strong basslines, which ultimately burn down the delicately constructed mood arc of the album.
It is remarkable that Al Pride also indulge in their love for eclecticism on their fourth album, but follow a clear and meticulously negotiated musical language. It is only when you listen very carefully that you realize how almost pedantic and delicate the songs and their interplay are orchestrated. Recorded at Christophe Besch’s sound factory, in their own studio and in their own living rooms, mixed by Roger Müller, mastered by Dan Sutter and decorated with the artwork of Luca Bartulovic, the album represents the beginning of a new era for Al Pride: Even more is reduced, even more omitted, but they do not save on unconventional, sophisticated songwriting. Quivering grooves carry the two lead voices, crisp basses harmonize with spherical retro guitars and numerous different musical influences are combined by the now characteristic, convention-free Al Pride brass section. Mature pop music paired with clear content.
This fourth album definitely carries Al Pride across national borders. With the EP in April, the band has elegantly but powerfully created its own position in the middle of the European music scene. “Sweet Roller” should significantly strengthen this position.
“A performance that fascinates with thick sounds and eclectic expressions centered on twin vocals.”
– Nichemusic, JP