CD reviews Denmark's latest fashionably unfashionable popsters follow in a fine Scandinavian pop tradition.
This Is Alphabeat - Alphabeat (Copenhagen Records)
Scandinavians may have a reputation for gloom, but you can always rely on them to provide the most upbeat, tuneful and irresistibly toe-tapping pop, from institutions like Sweden's Abba to one-hit wonders such as Junior Senior. Denmark's latest fashionably unfashionable popsters, Alphabeat, are following in a fine tradition, then, with their danceable, cheerful and bouncy album This Is Alphabeat, already a platinum seller in Denmark. The crew of bright, pretty creatures look set to achieve the impossible by conquering both the hearts of the mainstream tween charts-followers and the minds of the alternative music-festival-attending hipsters. With tongue-in-cheek arrangements reminiscent of the days of Stock, Aitken & Waterman, tight instrumentation, candy-floss voices and lyrical themes that are up there intellectually with Kylie and Jason, the record evokes a world where the sun perpetually shines, teenagers spend their days jumping up and down to bubblegum sounds and arguing over boyfriends, and everyone wears rainbow-coloured hoodies. Those with a heightened sense of irony will love this, as will those too young to have heard it the first time round. As for the rest of us, the songs may define the summer, but by the time the leaves start to fall, we'll be begging for Ingmar Bergman's Grim Reaper to swing his scythe on this one.