Pur seem to have had in mind a power pop album with Wünsche, but the result sounds more like a Teutonic take on heartland rock -- the kind of thing Bruce Springsteen could have produced had he been a sentimental German trying to hide his love for the '80s. The band sports a guitar sound similar to Gin Blossoms, and goes for the same sunny and slightly reckless mood, but reckless is not really their thing -- Pur are too serious for this, turning every song into a small epic made to electrify crowd-packed arenas. Hartmut Engler has the type of voice that would make even a grocery shopping list sound like a matter of life and death, and he is not afraid to sing about stuff like good and evil (in very intelligible German fit for classroom, to boot). The arrangements do not sound dated, but they are recognizable to anyone familiar with radio rock of the Phil Collins era -- those typical piano textures that go with power chords, those romantic guitar licks, that bass leading the melody in verses, and even the plastic synthesizer that pops up in a couple of places. Strangely enough, there is none of the delay effect that U2 favored, even though the level of bombast is comparable. The level of catchiness is not, but Pur still have enough hooks to rope in the casual listener. All said, this is very simple music, and its larger-than-life earnestness can be almost embarrassing after the angst of the '90s and the postmodern sneer of the 2000s, but then, this is the best thing about Wünsche -- it's big, it's romantic, and it's catchy like a good pop album should be. ~ Alexey Eremenko, Rovi

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