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What If Leaving Is a Loving Thing

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Album Review

After several years of silence from Swedish pop/rock queens Sahara Hotnights, they came back on the scene with a pleasant surprise in 2007 — the group can still rock. And fans will still want to sing along. What If Leaving Is a Loving Thing is packed full of the same contagious energy that pounded on previous albums, but here it has been refined and finessed to a degree that should finally separate the group from comparisons to the Donnas. Whereas their influences might still take root in the sounds of Joan Jett and the Runaways, Sahara Hotnights have stepped away from the raw rock of their icons in order to try on some unadulterated pop. Maria Andersson's vocals swagger where they used to snarl. There are jazz elements where percussion used to dominate. The fast-paced, riff-driven songs of Jennie Bomb and Kiss & Tell have evolved into a sound appropriate for fans who have matured along with the band. In fact, Sahara Hotnights have accomplished a rare feat on this album: they've grown up without losing their hook. Although the group has slowed down the tempo for What If Leaving Is a Loving Thing, these ten tracks will still get feet tapping from the first chords. "Cheek to Cheek" and "Neon Lights" are irresistibly danceable, while "No for an Answer" winds its way more leisurely along. The entire album is satisfying, if safe. This may not be the record to top any best-of lists, but it's a great addition to that stack of good-time music that everyone likes to reach for once in a while.


Formed: 1996 in Sweden

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

While growing up in northern Sweden during the hey day of grunge, the four ladies of Sahara Hotnights needed something tangible to beat the boredom of being teenagers. Naturally, Maria Andersson (vocals/ guitars), Josephine Forsman (drums) and sisters Jennie Asplund (guitars), Johanna Asplund (bass) formed a band. They were already under the influence of Blondie, The Clash and The Ramones, so Sahara Hotnights structured themselves under seventies punk rock for a stylish, post-grunge sound of their...
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What If Leaving Is a Loving Thing, Sahara Hotnights
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