Album Review: Alphabeat – The Beat Is…

By on Wednesday, 6th January 2010 at 2:00 pm

Back in 2008, Alphabeat were a chirpy, if not annoying sextet hailing from Denmark who sung about “the word that’s on your lips”, yes, FAS-CI-NA-TION, while appearing on the family-friendly T.V slots of Richard and Judy and Loose Women. Hmm, no, I wasn’t much of a fan of the quirky Danish pop act back then, and admittedly, I wasn’t expecting great things from their upcoming second album, ‘The Beat Is…’, either.

Well, I wouldn’t say I stand corrected, but, let’s just say, I am super surprised by the six pieces’ new record. It would appear that Alphabeat have decided to drop the cutesy pop façade of ’08, and have instead turned to embracing rawer 90’s electronica and dance Eyeball Paul would be beyond proud of. Yes, to be honest, I am really quite impressed by this unexpected change of direction, and Alphabeat undeniably do it with skill, readers.

Think the house beats of Snap! when listening to the super ‘Rhythm is a Dancer’-esque track that is ‘Hole in the Heart’, and the rounded, soulful Thea Austin vocals of ‘Heatwave’. The jagged vocal-cuts of the latter track, along with ‘Always Up With You’ emit a particularly 90’s vibe and would swim perfectly among Ibiza dancefloors overtook by laser lights and misty smoke machines.

Still, this album isn’t all about the era of Saved by the Bell and Pogs – hints of the 80’s, for example, are still audible amid tracks such as ‘DJ’, where frontlady Stine Bramsen starts to sound like a young, ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ era Madonna. ‘Q&A’, meanwhile, may be a little slower paced but, coming along quite late into the album, it’s much appreciated among the previously intense rave synths.

To conclude, ‘The Beat Is…’ is an extremely nostalgic album, successfully harking back to the glory days of Ministry of Sound and Kevin and Perry. Really, Alphabeat take on the genre of dance surprisingly well. I used to dislike this band. I found them sickly sweet, and to be frank, I couldn’t stand their cheesy 3 minute pop gems. Yet, ‘The Beat Is…’ succeeds in breathing a whole new life into Alphabeat. They’ve matured, grown up, and have took on a sector of the electro genre that not many artists are combating at the moment. ‘The Beat Is…’ is different, and oddly, despite it’s 90’s influence, does not discharge a sense of being out-of-date at all.

Watch the official video to ‘The Spell’ (which samples classic 90’s track, ‘Get Serious’ by Cut ‘N’ Move), below.


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4 Responses

11:09 am
7th January 2010

A friend dragged a bunch of us to see Alphabeat at Glastonbury a few years ago promising great things. We all stood mouth open at the horror that unfolded before us. I’m not sure myself this is much better. It reminds me of standing in a student disco drinking water down beer…hmmmm, where can I get a kebab?

1:45 pm
7th January 2010

Haha, but don’t you enjoy revelling in such nostalgia? Haha, I don’t think ‘The Spell’, the song that is, is very good. It’s one of the closest tracks on the album to the old Alphabeat – the Alphabeat I couldn’t stand.

7:31 pm
8th January 2010

[…] Latest from Alphabeat–they sound like a real band now AND they can spell! (There Goes the Fear) […]

[…] Pop-tastic Danes Alphabeat have announced a string of 2010 UK tour dates for April in support of their new album (which Jess reviewed here). […]

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