Review : Alphabeat - The Beat Is...
GuardianAlphabeat's debut album was an unexpected joy: cheesy and slightly naff, but performed with such vigour and joy that it was irresistible – it cheerled for 80s pop without ever getting arch or stylised. Its follow-up tries to repeat the trick, but takes as its model the early 90s, when the singles charts were full of house-pop acts having a hit or two each before disappearing back whence they came. The glee that infused that first album has been swamped by endless staccato synth or piano riffs, all of which sound like a score of minor hits from a generation ago. The moves away from that template – Heart Failure, steeped in an almost aggressive melancholy, sounds like something Eurythmnics might have recorded – are a relief, and singles The Spell and Hole in My Heart would have been superior examples of house-pop back in the day. But anyone hoping for another Fascination or 10,000 Nights will wonder where the vim of those songs has gone....full text
MusicomhWhen Denmark's perky sextet Aphabeat burst onto the music scene with the delicious Fascination in 2008 their genre of choice seemed to be the music of 1980s films directed by John Hughes. Fascination, and its follow-up 10,000 Nights, showcased a keen ear for a gold-plated melody; the former has since moved from 'guilty pleasure' to 'pop classic' on lists of songs it's OK now to like.
Despite some solid success in the UK - debut album This Is Alphabeat reached the Top 10 - the band parted ways with their previous label and, for various reasons, their follow-up has been delayed for over four months (it was released in their native Denmark under a different title, The Spell, and with a different tracklisting). Factor in that the band have looked to early '90s dance-pop for their inspiration, and you have a slightly underwhelming proposition....full text
NmeTwo years ago, Alphabeat, a Danish six-piece apparently played by the cast of Lazytown, were heralded as the future of pop. Then, despite their debut charting in the Top 10, EMI dropped them for financial reasons. Now signed to Polydor, they’re back with the abrupt musical swerve that is ‘The Beat Is…’. What that ellipsis leads on to is Shannon, Black Box, Madonna and, in its most dubious of moments, Whigfield. Alphabeat have bravely stripped away all the bubblegum that originally made them popular in favour of the Euro-dance years of the late-’80s/early-’90s. The result is stronger than you might think, but too inconsistent and devoid of depth to stand out on a battlefield where Gaga rules all....full text
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