EUROPE – Last Look at Eden (2009 Ear Music)
When it was released on September 9 2009, Joey Tempest and Ian Haughland were quoted talking about how this was the best album Europe had done in the reunion era. I personally don’t agree; I think Start From the Dark is the best. However that’s not a slight against Last Look at Eden, a regal very European platter of great songs. From rockers, to ballads, to blues (like the closing epic “In My Time”), Last Look at Eden is a well-rounded Europe album.
You can tell what you’re in for right from the opening prelude: Grand arrangements, lush recording. The Europe of old, in the world of today. This goes straight into the title track, a sort of “Final Countdown” for the new era. Indeed, Last Look at Eden combines sounds from Europe’s past, brought sharply into the new millennium. A good example is “New Love in Town”, a great ballad that would go toe-to-toe with the lush landmark ballads this band did in the 80’s. There’s even a hint of Zeppelin on “Mojito Girl”. I hear a smidge of Marillion in “No Stone Unturned”. Elsewhere you will find groove, such as on the driving “Gonna Get Ready”. “The Beast” is unstoppable! If it wasn’t for Joey Tempest’s voice and the thick tone of John Norum, you wouldn’t know it was Europe. But it is, and has the kind of chorus that they do so well.
To me the weakest parts of this album were some of the lyrics, “Catch That Plane” being the worst. It’s not 1986 anymore guys. “It’s getting hard, so very hard, I’m gonna need some attention.” What on Earth could Joey be singing about? “Catch that plane and get your ass, your pretty ass over here.” Oh.
I also find the album cover to be a poor representation of the music inside. It’s not bad, with the apple (“Eden”) and the ferrofluid spikes. Everybody will have their own interpretation, but it just doesn’t do the music justice.
There are two bonus tracks on this edition, more on different editions. Here you get a live version of the old B-side track, “Yesterday’s News”, probably the best version of this song released yet. There is also a live version of “Wake Up Call” from Start From The Dark.
Pretty damn good. Lots of killer, only a little filler.