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NEETI SARKAR
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Roxette- Travelling: Songs from Studios, Stages, Hotel rooms & Other Strange Places

Virgin Records, Audio CD: Rs. 395

Swedish pop rock duo Roxette comprising Marie Fredriksson (vocals) and Per Gessle (vocals and guitar) have released their 9th studio album. Touted as their official sequel to 1992 album Tourism, Travelling features a concoction of new songs, live recordings and revised versions of old numbers.

Reiterating the feeling on Tourism, Travelling also captures the mood of a band constantly on the move, absorbing inspiration wherever they go as they record in hotel rooms, studios, rehearsals and concerts. This album is the follow-up to last year’s comeback album, Charm School , after which they started touring again.

Travelling is off to a flying start with a strong reference to the opener on Tourism . ‘Me & You & Terry & Julie’ has the 60s feel to it. It’s groovy and enjoyable as also is ‘Turn of the Tide’.

The romantic number ‘Lover, Lover, Lover’ is quite the hit with Per Gessle’s incredibly chilling vocals. ‘Touched by The Hand of God’ is as serious a song as its name suggests and is about Marie’s fight against cancer. Then comes ‘Easy Way Out’ which comes easy to the duo as it contains the signature Roxette pop/rock reverberation.

There are two versions of ‘It’s Possible’ and it seems as if the artistes knew we couldn’t get enough of this catchy, upbeat number.

As the album progresses, we notice Marie sings ‘Perfect Excuse’ better than Per Gessle did on his third English solo album ‘Party Crasher’, but later in the album the latter outshines the female vocalist.

The title of the song ‘Excuse Me Sir, Do You Want Me to Check on Your Wife?’ is unfortunately more intriguing than the song itself.

As the ballad ‘Angel Passing’ plays, you wish the whole song would just pass you by quickly because Gessle’s vocals are not at its best here. Nonetheless the ethereal sound beautifully lingers.

The last bit of the album witnesses past material from the band. Despite the song being played and sung to death, the orchestra-synergised ‘It Must Have Been Love’ makes for an epic ending of this 15 track album. This is no ground-breaking album but kudos to them for the arrangement of music which has a decent balance of upbeat songs and ballads, ensuring the listener doesn’t get bored too easily. As seen in the past, what sets Roxette apart from their counterparts is their writing which is as passionate as their splendid pop hooks.

Existing fans are bound to like it, new listeners won’t have too much to dislike. The good news is that Travelling is definitely more charming than Charm School .

NEETI SARKAR

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