Monday, November 06, 2006

Inbox: Ella Rouge

Ella Rouge is the first promotional cd I got sent. And possibly the last. But I was glad that I do like what I hear.
So what makes this band special? Well, the one fact that the publicists will always put first: Ludvig, the lead singer, and also the songwriter that wrote the majority of the tracks on the band’s debut album, is the young son of ABBA’s leader and main songwriter Benny Andersson. I don't know if that has anything to do with the photo above (which is also the cd cover), in which this ABBA son guy has the rights to stand and strike poses on the fields while his band mates are being tied to a giant tree with their instruments.
So are there more to them beside that? There are, indeed. They come from Sweden, the land of music exports these days. And their music is quite catchy and rocking and also sappy and poppy when they want to.
Here's what their press release makes believe:

"ELLA ROUGE has already hit #1 on the revered Web site MySpace in the alternative, rock and power pop categories. “Eldorado High,” an autobiographical rocker with a wry edge, is the band’s first single in their homeland, and is currently the most-listened to track by the band on MySpace (myspace.com/ellarouge). The single has been followed onto the airwaves with the playful “Jekyll and Hyde” and the rambunctious “The L.A. Dogs.” The band is in the midst of global exploration.

With influences going back to the early days of rock n’ roll, the band also has admiration for recent artists from the UK, U.S. and its homeland. “The Stockholm scene is always boiling with interesting new bands. The Sounds, The Knife and Jose Gonzalez… the list is endless,” says Ludvig, explaining, “If any of them has had any effect on my own songwriting I am not sure. And of course I’ve had some parental influences as well,” he admits.

The album was recorded in producer Micke Lynader’s studio on an island in the Baltic Sea in the middle of a bone-chilling winter. “During recording we lived together in six army beds in the attic of the studio,” remembers guitarist Max Lachmann. ‘We did everything together. We had fights, parties, good times, sad times and lot of jam sessions together.”

From a barrelhouse honky-tonk piano to a duel-guitar attack and a potent rhythm section, ELLA ROUGE is a rock band in the truest sense with every member helping to shape the band’s sonic intensity.
"

The first time I listened to the cd, The Feeling was the first band that popped up in my head for comparisons to the '80s power pop similarity. Ella Rouge just bears a striking resemblance to them in their music styles, which means if you're The Feeling fans, make room for these guys, too.
The track's orders can be a little frustrating. The odd ones are straightforward, upbeat singsong pop-rock. The even ones are piano-oriented bittersweet ballads. So one minute you want to bang your head, the next minute you find yourself sit down still. Despite the confusing strategy of tracklisting, the songs are just quite good to listen to, nicely-penned, infectious melodies that can't be pigeon-holed into a definite genre.



Here I include two songs for your evaluation. One is the bouncy number 'ElDorado High', their current single, and one is my favorite ballad of the album, 'Weary'.

Ella Rouge - ElDorado High
Ella Rouge - Weary

Ella Rouge's official site
Ella Rouge's MySpace
Buy their self-titled cd

This is irrelevant, but I feel like ranting a little bit today, so don't read this. I was this close to announcing the first giveaway for the site, as I was promised 4 copies of Shawn Colvin's new cd to give out for free, but then I was turned down because I didn't live in the States->shipping fee's costly. It sucks, because this is from the same marketing company that sent me the Ella Rouge cd. It's always like this: I got sent a letter recommending a new band and asking me if I want a copy of the cd to review, when I really dig the music, I reply with my mailing address and I never hear from them again or a polite 'We can't make it' letter. It just sucks. I'm not complaining, but my situation just sucks.

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