europe logo resizeReleased in the UK on Monday and bringing the band’s trademark 80s sound bang up to date, Last Look At Eden has the potential to fire Europe back into rock’s big league. Check out its rushonrock rating right here.

Europe llae artworkEurope – Last Look At Eden (earMUSIC)

Right from the off this record hints at something very special as the symphonic prelude kicks into a killer title track. The thumping bassline, Joey Tempest’s perfectly tuned vocals and John Norum’s stellar axe work don’t lull the listener into a false sense of optimism – they simply make a powerful statement that this is the Europe album which fans have been praying for following the band’s decision to add a third chapter to their comeback story.

The pressure will always be on a band boasting perhaps the biggest hit of the hair metal era to reproduce The Final Countdown with bells on. Well Europe haven’t done that in spite of the fact that Mic Michaeli’s keys sound more meaningful that at any time during the past 20 years. What Joey and his long-serving buddies have done is fuse the more melodic elements of the late 80s era with the modern metal sound underpinning the post-reformation period. It works. And then some.

There is the heartfelt baladeering of second single New Love In Town and the grinding rock of Gonna Get Ready. There are times when Norum is allowed to run riot with solos which may well have been cut from Out Of This World – had he stayed on beyond The Final Countdown. And there is a steely sense of purpose underpinning the tried and tested rhythm section of Ian Haugland and John Leven. Sadly for all of you Smash Hits readers out there this is not the Joey Tempest show – althought that’s not to say the talented songwriter’s standards are slipping.

Where the London-based Swede was once tied to the clean and crisp delivery required for global commercial success, age and experience have cast Tempest in a truly remarkable light. His lyrics actually mean something way beyond cheesy rock cliches these days and his vocals suggest that blues rock may well have found its natural successor to Coverdale, Rogers et al.

Only Young Twice proves to be the perfect song for the perfect Europe album, the title alone revealing five men who’ve been there, done it, got the tee shirt – and are even more excited about doing it all over again. Fans of the band’s early era pop sensibilities will find more than enough here to satisfy their need for big chorus nostalgia. But those who have warmed to the band in the light of Start From The Dark and Secret Society will recognise a natural and fist-pumping progression.

No wonder the notoriously difficult Bloodstock crowd took Europe to their hearts this summer. This is a band capable of achieveing anything right now – if only the cynics will allow them.

rushonrock rated: 9/10 Conquering Europe