According to Wikipedia “Saudades de Rock” roughly translated means “Nostalgic Yearning for Rock”. With that being said it doesn’t change the fact that Extreme’s first album in thirteen years is still unpronounceable to almost anyone not familiar with the Portuguese language. Fortunately the title is the only bad thing I found with this release.
Before I listened to this album I went back and reintroduced myself to Extreme’s music because quite honestly after “Pornograffitti” they lost my attention. The songs were there occasionally but not albums as a whole. There were no such problems with Saudades from start to finish it had me bobbing my head, tapping my feet, and singing along.
Everything gets started with “Star” where the band’s admiration for Queen shines brightly with the vocal harmonies, thumping bass line, and a damn good solo from Nuno Bettencourt. From there it goes to “Comfortably Dumb” with a funk feel Extreme is famous for. Other standout tracks include “Take Us Alive” with what I would call a Texas Stomp feel, “Run” that goes back to the Queen influences again maybe a little to much because the opening lines reminded me of Fame right off the bat. “Last Hour” has a bluesy swagger to it once it gets started. “Flower Man” has a great foot tapping vibe to it even though I can’t understand a single word Gary Cherone is singing. “King of the Ladies” would have fit nicely with any song on “Pornograffitti”. When “Ghost” first started playing I had to check my I-Tunes to make sure someone hadn’t slipped a Coldplay song in there but after a few listens that little mistake was forgiven. Peace (Saudade) gives a nod to the Beatles with some great vocals, harmonies, and piano playing.
Throughout the album Extreme shines together as well as individually. Nuno Bettencourt’s playing is unbelievable; Gary Cherone’s vocals are strong as ever, bassist Pat Badger keeps everyone tight and in line. But in my opinion the “Star” of this album is drummer Kevin Figueiredo not only did he help write three of the tracks he gives one of the best performances I have heard in a long time. In case you didn’t know, one of Figueiredo’s drumming mentors was Mike Mangini. If you pick up the European version you also get an extra track, a demo from 1985 called “Americocaine”
“Saudades de Rock” gives you every thing you would expect from Extreme, plus a few surprises without the trash that plagues a couple of their previous releases.
2. Comfortably Dumb
3. Learn To Love
4. Take Us Alive
6. Last Hour
7. Flower Man
8. King Of The Ladies
13. Peace (Saudade)
Gary Cherone – Vocals
Nuno Bettencourt – Guitars
Pat Badger – Bass, backing vocals
Kevin Figueiredo – Drums, percussion
Reviewed by Rocknrollcoastie.