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Monday, October 26, 2009

Track-by-Track: Alphabeat - The Spell

Alphabeat's second album is an interesting beast. In one regard, it sounds like a natural follow-up for them. On the other hand, much of the debut's "let's grab a tambourine and put on a show" charm is absent. It's probably a smart move, since that kind of energy is more fitting to a brand new band than an established one. So, how does the new album stack up?

1. The Spell - When this was initially released a few months ago, I was underwhelmed. I liked the beat, but that was about it. Now it's grown on me quite a bit, though it's still not their best single. Very catchy, though. 9/10

2. DJ - My favorite track on the album, this finds the male/female vocals on full display, steering us through a melody that screams "#1 single" far more obviously than the previous track. 10/10

3. Hole In My Heart - Another uptempo dance track continuing the obvious 90's influence, this one has a catchy, if somewhat repetitive, chorus. Suffers from being placed after DJ, but it's still a great track. 9/10

4. The Beat Is - This has a strong, hard chorus with some dramatic synths. Though still uptempo, it's got a funkier beat that sets it apart from some of the other dance tracks. Easily continues the album's winning streak. 9/10

5. Heat Wave - A totally Stine-centric track, this is a loud, frantic dance track and will certainly rub some listeners the wrong way, but I love it. The instrumentation is sped up to the point of bursting, and Stine's vocals are suitably frantic. 10/10

6. Chess - A midtempo, synth-driven track, this gives the album some well-deserved breathing room and features some interesting vocal production. Anders' bridges are especially nice. One of the band's strongest midtempos, I'd say. 9/10

7. Heart Failure - I like everything about this track except the chorus. It's alright, but too repetitive. Anders is used very effectively in the bridges again. I'm a sucker for tracks where the two vocalists actually sing to each other, rather than detached. 8/10

8. Always Up With You - Back to the hyper-dance 90's sound, this is an Anders track primarily, and one of the best on the album. Great beat, great melody and some catchy background bits from Stine. Love this one. 10/10

9. Q&A - The other midtempo on the album, this isn't as strong as Chess. Again, the chorus is just a bit too repetitive. Certainly not bad by any standard, but not overly amazing. I wish they were singing "T&A" instead. It'd be more interesting. 8/10

10. The Right Thing - The perfect closing track, this one sees Stine and Anders tag-teaming it for another hugely uptempo dance track with a very catchy, dramatic melody. It may not sound so much like their last record, but this is a very nice progression. 10/10

Album Grade: 9.2/10

5 Comments:

Blogger Paul said...

another great review - i love the album. I was worried that it would get a bit repetitive after a few listens but i haven't had the problem yet. It's a giddy joy :)

11:53 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

PS did you see that Alphabeat twittered your review? How lovely :)

2:47 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

yeah, I did see that. They're so nice! :)

4:44 PM  
Anonymous baju muslim zahra said...

different from the others :) funny

11:08 PM  
Blogger DanProject76 said...

Hello, visiting via Fizzypop's mention of you!

Alphabeat is indeed an excellent pop album and "frantic" is the word I have been looking for to describe Heatwave.

1:05 PM  

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