Swedish Grammy winner Anders Wendin is no stranger to success in the music world. With a “Best Rock Album of the Year” title and four albums under his belt (not to mention the releases from his former band, Monster) the pop-rock musician better known as Moneybrother has been doing quite all right for himself.
Making his US debut just this Spring, Wendin’s fifth studio album, Real Control has been making waves in the music world, and honestly, who could be surprised? Moneybrother is like a summit meeting of genres, with poppy hooks, funky rhythms, soulful croons, and good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll getting together and shooting the breeze.
Strongly kicking off the record is the obvious album favorite, “Born Under A Bad Sign” which only takes about five seconds to suck listeners in with is trilling piano glissando, hi-hat and chorus of “la-lala-la”, quickly followed with a thumping drum and jaunty bass line as Wendin breathily growls lines like, “What I’ve got is gonna help me get what’s mine/ I was born under a badly bolstered sign”. Definitely the most infectious tracks on the album, “Born Under A Bad Sign” is one of those songs you’ll be humming under your breath for weeks. Similarly catchy are tracks “We Die Only Once” and “Get Some Tonight”, the former of which takes on a reggae-rock rhythm, falling in line with something you’d expect from The Police. That same style is revisited in “Here Comes The Vain”, while “Get Some Tonight” takes after something a little more Tom Petty-esque with its harmonica, acoustic and raucous choruses. There’s a definite tinge of ska to Real Control, showing that even after so many albums on his own Anders Wendin is still holding on to his Monster ska-pop origins- particularly in “I Just Feel Like Hurting Somebody” and the “do-do-do” of “Just Another Part of Me That Breaks Down”.
While Real Control by and large is an album to be moved to, Anders does slow things down with songs like “Showdown” and “6AM”. Delivering vintage R&B style with lyrics about longing and being dangerously close, these two tracks are the moment in the Moneybrother playlist where you’re expected to sidle up to the person you’ve had your eye on and make a move. A sultry violin swell sets the mood for love in “6AM” as Anders purrs, “You and me we won’t be going nowhere/ You and me we got all we need right here”, calling out to “make tonight last a little longer”.
“Not That Old” throws out a curveball with its 80’s New Wave-ness, slightly creepy falsetto, and with its spoken word moment reminiscent of Donna Summers’ in “I Will Survive”, this song may be a turn off for some listeners. “(Never Ever) Been Kissed” was another one that didn’t fare too well with us, once again because Anders distorts the lovely growl we’ve come to love in Real Control with deep, Johnny Cash qualities and pairs it with surf-rock-meets-new-wave guitar that just didn’t work with its corresponding organ sounds.
Those two tracks aside, however, Real Control is an album that snuck up on us, and going into it totally unsuspecting, we were pleasantly surprised when it revealed itself to be such a catchy collection of all that is funky, soulful, and rocking. Kudos goes out to Moneybrother for this one- and if a few tracks from Real Control aren’t included in your next party playlist? Then we don’t want to come.