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EUROPE Almost Unplugged Soulfood/Universal (2008)


Since reforming in 2003, Europe have released 2 studio albums, a live DVD and have successfully toured to promote these. Recorded in their native Sweden in January this year, the live 'Almost Unplugged' CD was originally broadcast over the band's website and features re-workings of some of their best known hits, alongside a couple of covers that have inspired the band throughout their career. Unlike Bon Jovi's 'This Left Feels Right', this album isn't a departure from the bands trademark sound, nor is it an attempt to attract new fans from outside of the genre, what you actually get is a very good album worthy of a very good band.

Out of the 14 tracks on the CD, four are from recent albums 'Start From The Dark' and 'Secret Society', four are the afore mentioned covers- these are Zeppelin's 'Since I've Been Loving You', UFO's 'Love To Love', Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here' and Thin Lizzy's 'Suicide'- a tribute to the late Phil Lynott, a musician often name checked by the members of Europe. These all sit nicely along-side Europe favourites like 'Rock The Night', 'Yesterday's News', 'Superstitious' and, of course, 'The Final Countdown'- slowed down here in a similar way to Clapton's unplugged version of Layla, the much loved (and sometimes lambasted) synthesised strings replaced by a real life string section.

A definite must for fans of the band, this album will keep me happy until next year's promised new CD.


Review by Nikk Gunns

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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