Am I capable of listening to recent pop music that’s not in some way Eurovision-related? Well that still remains to be proven as I delve into Swedish pop band Le Kid’s debut album. A bit of a long time coming, with a debut single surfacing in Sweden in 2010, but it appeared to be well worth the wait.
The Eurovision connection? Well Le Kid sent “Oh my god!” to Melodifestivalen in 2011. It was one of the better songs of the contest I think, but sadly it came 5th in its semi-final. Still, we’re here now, aren’t we?
09 We are the drums – Opening shots fired now, making no mistake of their mission statement – they are in it to win it, and all imitators pale in comparison. A nice sentiment to start with, and they certainly put a good case forward with that killer chorus. They aren’t the sort of band to suit too much of an edge, so this track finds it level at ‘sassy and confident’. Got plenty of punch for an opening track, really great start.
08 Mercy Mercy – Playground fun to start with, before smoothly transitioning to a slick pop song reminiscent of Girls Aloud’s “Can’t speak French” with that beat. Back on sassy anyway, and another bouncy killer of a chorus. This is just so easy to listen to, and it’s clear why this was picked as the first single. I can’t help but think of Alphabeat for a lot of their songs, slightly strange since there are two female leads, I just can’t really distinguish between them. Either way, it’s all good.
08 America – Post-Melodifestivalen single now, and more laid back than the first two songs. Another smooth pleasant electro-lite backing track, with a cute glittery chorus. The hook on the chorus is clear, though it doesn’t have quite the effect that the earlier songs have done. Still, very listenable, though the first chance for a song to wash over me a little bit.
08 Oh my God! – The Melodifestivalen entry, and another vaguely Girls-Aloud esque feeling pop song. That’s of course no issue for me, it sounds great, and that chorus is totally infectious. I’ve severely overplayed this one, but it’s still totally cute. I think overexposure knocked a mark off, but it’s still better than several of the Melodifestivalen qualifiers that year.
08 Bigger than Jesus – What a big claim for that title! A bit of a dancier electro sound to this one, something I’ve been enjoying a lot from Scandinavian pop outfits recently. While Le Kid will probably never have quite the cutting edge that artists like Robyn have, they have an adorable niche of their own. Love the production on this one, and I get the idea that there’s a different vocalist on lead here … I just can’t quite tell the difference. The title was a bit of a red herring that doesn’t really tie into anything else, but it’s a pleasantly upbeat track with a really lovely middle-eight to boot.
07 Kiss me – Jaunty cowboy saloon pop music now, reminds me a bit of Dragonette actually (I really need to learn some more bands to compare things to). A cheeky bit of fun, and somehow even more bouncy and upbeat than Oh My God. A bit cloying maybe, but it’s not exactly a difficult listen. Fun but a little too light, even for me.
08 We should go home together – Another early single, and a proper 80s throwback track, sounds like it should be on a Saturday morning cartoon or something. Perhaps that’s why I love this album so much, it has the right sort of influences to hit whatever demographic I’ve ended up in. The chorus is a bit basic, but it’s still pretty strong. There’s a nice sort of power behind the tempo, like some cheesy movie theme tune. There do seem to be a lot of tracks on this album trying to convince someone to go out with the singer, doesn’t there?
07 Seventeen – Perhaps this one is trying a little too hard, the Betty Boo reference is a bit cringey. But the song is alright, and it has a few striking moments, like “I can be cute, I can be dumb, And I’m not even illegally young” delivered with giddy determination. There are plenty of little sections that mesh together pretty well, but that chugging beat for the choruses just misses something for me.
07 Telephone – More yearning for potential boyfriends huh? Well the flirting continues, and she’s hangin’ on the telephone. Not exactly reinventing the wheel, but it sounds pretty good if a little dated. In fact it reminds me a little of the sound of Rachel Stevens’ underperforming album “Come and get it”, which is no bad thing, but remember that was 2005! No complaints, but not much to rave about for me.
09 Escape – Now this is a lot more like it, a quiet electro background, back to the 80s. But the vocals are so sweet this time, and instead of the flirtatious nature of many other tracks, now our plucky heroines need to get out of a failing relationship. But no hard feelings, people drift apart. That chorus is just so easy to listen to, reminds me a little of some Erasure, or something. OK so this band is too fun and frothy to get too emotional about things, but there’s a rare flash of tenderness on this track that really puts it above a lot of the album.
09 Mr Brightside – Oh you all know this one, don’t you. A slightly unexpected cover of an already wonderful Killers song. I fully expect Killers fans to not accept this as a valid effort, but it’s a great song to start with, and all they do is a respectful electropop rendition of it. The singers have such gorgeously listenable voices anyway, there’s nothing I can object to. Perhaps it feels a bit neutered in comparison to the original, but it’s not like I can’t listen to that if I want.
Well that’s that, and another chapter in my merry journey into addictive Swedish pop music. No pretence in this one, just a group of musicians making music to make people happy. This album seems to have been received well, which is great news. I am aware that I gave all the tracks 7-9 marks, but it’s just a reflection of the album’s consistent quality and total listenability. I only rarely get albums where I want to put it straight back on afterwards, and happily this is one of them.
Keepers for the iPod: We are the drums, Mercy Mercy, America, Oh my god!, Bigger than Jesus, We should go home together, Escape, Mr Brightside