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Extreme Saudades de Rock

By Charlie Steffens aka Gnarly Charlie, Writer/Photographer
Tuesday, August 19, 2008 @ 10:10 PM


Open E Records

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It’s been thirteen years since Extreme made a record. If the mention of their name brings “Kid Ego” or “Get the Funk Out” or “More Than Words” back into your consciousness, and makes you nostalgic for those days of dry-humping, dedication cassettes, and Beavis and Butthead, I understand. By the way, nothing beats that “just-coarse-enough” feel and heat-conducting quality of acid wash jeans.

With a sound uncharacteristic of any band on the scene, past or present, Extreme is back with Saudades de Rock, their fifth studio album. As far as comebacks go, this one was done right, and for the right reasons. A reunion of three original members, singer Gary Cherone, guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, bassist Pat Badger, and new drummer Kevin Figueiredo, this foursome might well be the quintessential incarnation of a band that almost slipped into extinction in the mid-90’s.

The first track “Star” is a declaration that Extreme has stuck to the blueprint of making great music. Gary Cherone sings with all the power and vitality as he did back in the Pornograffitti period and Bettencourt’s guitar playing is fast, funky, razor-sharp, and soulful. The song illuminates new drummer Figueiredo’s prowess with a rock solid bass accompaniment from Pat Badger.

“Last Hour” shows a side of Extreme previously unheard, with guitars and rhythm reminiscent of The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” and Alice Cooper’s “Desperado.” In the thick of the slow, western-tinged picking, Nuno lays out a lacerating, tumbleweed torching bitch of a guitar solo.

“King of the Ladies,” a funky rocker, is an admission of being a teenage loser with the girls, making clever reference to people, places, and stuff in the ‘80’s. This features an obscene Nuno solo.

Yes, there are two ballads--two Extremely heartfelt blubbery bawlers, which would rival any ballad ever written. “Interface” is an emotional tale crooned by Gary about being at the fork in the road, realizing that it’s time to go. “Ghost” is a moving, piano steered song of lament and closure, maybe. Both songs are bound to find a place on the soft rock radio, but nonetheless they belong on the album. It is an Extreme record, for Christ’s sake.

For the Extreme fan, Saudades de Rock has been a long time coming and is a must have. It is surely what some of the nostalgic, hole-hearted, dry humping, acid-wash jean-wearing faction have missed as well.

* * * * *

Purchase Suadades de Rock now in the KNAC.COM More Store. Click here.


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