The definition of a guilty pleasure is “something that one enjoys despite feeling that is not generally held in high regard”. That’s the story of my life right there! And yours too probably if you are reading this.
Swedish trio Märvel know the score. Here, they embrace the odd and the not so odd, with their 8th album ‘Guilty Pleasures’. A 10 track covers album that pays tribute to their varied influences, some you will know, others you will wish you had known years ago, and all of them you will enjoy. From bizarre Swedish pop acts, to 70’s US radio classics, onto 90’s modern rock, Märvel have all bases covered and manage to make everything they tackle sound so fuckin’ cool in the process.
Let’s get one thing sorted from the off, Märvel sound like The Hellacopters. So much so, I would put money on Nicke Andersson having his leather-heeled boot in the door of this band. The true identities of the band members are a closely guarded secret, but one thing’s for sure, this masked trio comprising of The King (guitar and vocals), The Vicar (drums) and The Burgher (bass) kick serious ass on everything they do. If you haven’t seen or heard their version of WASP’s ‘Love Machine’ get it on YouTube before you read another word.
They open this album in style with a Kiss track. But not a well known classic from their 70’s heyday, that would be way too easy. ‘All For The Glory’ is probably the strongest track from their 2009 album ‘Sonic Boom’. It’s the perfect cover for Märvel, as the original (sung by drummer Eric Singer) actually already hints at that 90’s Scandinavian sound. Here, it is gloriously reinterpreted, complete with killer riffs and bang on Kiss style backing vocals. Sounding bigger, faster and better than the original, its high octane rock ‘n’ roll the way it should be delivered.
Elsewhere, they tackle 70’S AOR with ease. Giving a massive injection of rock ‘n’ roll cool with incendiary guitars and swagger to the likes of REO Speedwagon’s ‘Keep Pushin’ and Toto’s ‘Girl Goodbye’ making them sound 100 times better than the originals.
‘Ten O’clock Postman’ is a definite guilty pleasure. A 1980 Euro hit for Swedish disco/ synthpoppers Secret Service. Here, Märvel takes that poptastic chorus to another level, there’s even cowbell thrown in for good measure. And is it really possible to better Monster Magnet at their own game? Märvel pulls out all the stops to bring their own twist to ‘Powertrip’ and give Dave Wyndorf and co a run for their money.
‘Can’t Shake Loose’, this is an Imperial State Electric tune, right? No, it was a hit single for Agnetha Faltskog (the blonde bird from ABBA) in 1983 and was actually written by Russ Ballard, who of course wrote all sorts of rock ‘n’ roll awesomeness back in the day. So it’s no surprise this is the most rock ‘n’ roll song on offer and one of two that I keep playing and playing. The other being a killer version of ‘Sultans Of Swing’.
How they manage to make Dire Straits sound like Kiss is unbelievable. The swing has left the building and the overdrive is set to stun on this version. They change the whole feel of the song by changing the rhythm. Listen to that bass boogie, the unmistakeable Frehley-like guitar wail and the ‘Black Diamond’ styled backing vocals. Make no mistake, everything Märvel touches turns to gold.
They do the King himself justice by taking ‘Burning Love’ up a notch before finishing with a staple of 70’s US radio fodder in the form of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Hoochie Koo’.
Märvel go a long way to prove that good songs are everywhere. It’s all in the production and delivery. Forget your prejudice and look below the surface of your own guilty pleasures and you too could compile Märvel’s next covers opus. But for now ‘Guilty Pleasures’ is actually essential listening and a whole lotta fun. Put it on and you won’t be able to turn it up loud enough.
Buy ‘Guilty Pleasures’ Here
Author: Ben Hughes