The Cardigans released “Love Fool” in 1992, and went on to sell 55 million records. The Rule of 20 means we’re due for the next snowstorm of Swedish pop and Alpine wooed crowds at Bardot on Monday night. Their dual dulcet vocalists playfully projecting syncopated harmonies and alternating leads over and under each other. The crowd fell under their avalanching charm as chart-worthy singles crescendoed to Everest proportions.
Oh, and this was only the Australian synthpop sextet’s first US performance. I could endlessly yammer about Alpine’s professionalism, sensuality, instrumental restraint, polish, etc. but instead I’ll tie in Philip Glass, who counter-intuitively explained that he evaded specific emotions when composing. Alpine too moves away from their moniker’s frigidity, belting phrases with airy precision (and fed through some reverb and echo) as if from a Wurlitzer played by Dionysus, or at least a classically trained cherub.
Icicles clinging to your cold, dead heart? No more, Alpine will thaw them, or at least get your feet tapping and your shoulders swaying till you break a sweat. The Kimbra similarities are obvious, but the band is central here. Everything fit, like some four dimensional puzzle – the push-pull dynamic of two female vocalists, angular guitar riffs, efficiently infectious keys, a present but never overpowering bassist, and a four-on-the-floor drummer who accented the mundane nature of a dance beat with triplet accents and subtle, unexpected variations. The set shot out the gate and only gained momentum.
In summary, if you like the Cardigans and Minus The Bear, you will freak out when you hear Alpine. Visually, it’s like Kimbra and Kate Pearson reinterpreting early 90s Swedish pop, but edging towards the gobbledygook succor of feminine Icelandic projects e.g. Amiina, Bjork, Olof Arnalds, Parachutes. You could also compare it to Talking Heads ditching their visual arts classes to get Swedish Pop massages. Your call.
A is for Alpine is slated for a US release May 21st via Votiv records. Stream “Gasoline”:
LA bewitched Alpine, goading them to admit between songs, “So the rumors really are true, you are all very good looking.” I’m led to believe we could say the same for Melbourne. The “Hand” video [below] features axes, watermelon, spandex, and a gaggle of gorgeous girls making out with panes of glass and mirrors.
Obviously I threw objectivism out the window for this immediate pop crush. Here’s to Swede pop resurgence with more synthpop and new wave. Hopefully Alpine sells 55 million records, too. Which by the way, if stacked as vinyl records would rise about 27 ½ Mount Everests tall. Go figure.