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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

So I will be cardiffing down to Cardiff these next three days for, well, let's just call it a business trip, and I don't know what access to the internet will be like. Bottom line: if I've got internet, you'll get posts. If not, I'll make it up to you during the weekend.
Laakso - The Death Of Us

"We did it for love and we did it 'cause we had to"

Today is Laakso day, for a band can’t release an album as good as theirs (Mother, Am I Good Looking? - see review below) and escape my undying praise. Mother is the kind of album that’s hard to pick a single track from, as everything fits together so perfectly and each song has its own qualities that makes it special, but today I’m going to post the epic The Death Of Us. While it might not exactly be your typical rock hit, it succeeds in building up a wall of emotions and twisting the listener through points of contemplation and catharsis, all while being remarkable addictive at the same time. It’s impossible to pick a highlight from the record, but this was one of the tracks that hooked me the quickest, and I’m hoping it’ll do the same for you. Also, I’d be remiss not to mention that these guys are supporting my musical heroes The Ark on their current Scandinavian tour. If only I were there to see that double bill!

Laakso - The Death Of Us (mp3) (zshare)

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Buy the album here)
Laakso - Mother, Am I Good Looking?
Release Date: April 18, 2007
Label: V2 Records

Well, it doesn’t really matter what you look like when you release something this good. Laakso have officially arrived with their third full-length, which can only be described as a masterwork. The band has proven mildly popular for the past few years with their unique brand of rock music, but with Mother, Am I Good Looking?, they’ve blown their sound wide open and created something ambitious in scope, fearless in melody, and altogether essential. With any luck, it should be the record that this band is remembered for.

First single Italy vs. Helsinki (featuring Peter Jöback’s demure croon) is a bit of a red herring. Pure schlager through and the through, the song soars, managing to at once be ironic, satiric and drop-dead gorgeous. Things only improve from there. Hang Me In The Christmas Tree and Dropout are terrific pop songs… chugging synths, anthematic choruses, and front man Markus Krunegård’s wonderfully bizarre vocals. It’s pop music with a definite edge to it. Norrköping and Västerbron both use elements of place to evoke vastly different emotions, the former a catchy look back at a universal childhood and the latter a sorrowful remembrance of the past. Even more successful are The Death Of Us and Stay Tuned To My Love, each an anthem in the waiting. The Death Of Us, particularly, is a twisting ride of a song, beginning as a ballad and dropping unexpectedly into a fast paced, fist pumping chorus.

Mother’s main strengths are its inventiveness and consistency. It is unmistakably pop music, but it’s pop music of such a unique caliber that the listener is continually surprised as the album progresses. Krunegård is able to deftly switch between tones and squeeze every last drop of emotion from each track. He is the album’s secret weapon… the magic quality that transports pop songs to artistic statements, and what gives the album a real personal sense, even in its go-for-the-glory catchiness. A

Key Tracks: The Death Of Us, Italy vs. Helsinki, Norrköping

Monday, April 30, 2007

Krezip - Plug It In

"Plug it in and turn me on"

Thanks to a recommendation from an alienhits reader, I've recently discovered the remarkable Krezip. The band is from the Netherlands and plays ultra catchy pop music. They've got a new album coming out in a few weeks and Plug It In is the first single from that. If you liked Dover from a few weeks ago, chances are that you will love Krezip, for they've got a similar female-fronted sound. From what I can tell, the band started out with a rockier sound and have gradually moved towards poppier, almost bubblegum songs. Plug It In is unfortunately too catchy to ever be a hit outside of mainland Europe, but, at the very least, it certainly deserves to be appreciated outside of the Netherlands.

Krezip - Plug It In (mp3) (zshare)

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Buy the single here)