Formed five years ago in the small town of Silkeborg, known locally for its car dealerships, expensive lakeside villas and something called the Riverboat Jazz Festival, the six members of Alphabeat soon upped sticks to Copenhagen, where they recorded the debut album that, three singles later, went platinum in their homeland. Last year the group relocated to east London with a view to breaking the UK. The move seems to have paid off, with their infectious second single, 'Fascination', recently spending two-and-a-half months in the top 20.
This Is Alphabeat, their UK debut, isn't quite the same entity as Alphabeat, the album that went platinum in Denmark. The Danish disc's most cloying moments have been scrubbed from the British version, replaced by a trio of new tracks recorded with established producer Mike Spencer (Kylie, Beverley Knight, Jamiroquai). One of these is a giddy romp through PiL's 'Public Image', that, Alphabeat have shrewdly noted, "John Lydon would probably hate". Spencer has also tinkered with several other tracks from the Danish original, often adding wonky electro sound effects to the band's straitlaced pop songs.
Was the rejigging worth it? Absolutely: this 'revised' debut album works brilliantly. From opener 'Fantastic Six', a song whose onslaught of ridiculous vocal hooks ("Ein Zwei Drei, Weltpolizei!") recalls The B52s, to uber-melodic closer 'Nothing But My Baby', this is an album of joyous, dayglo pop music that, thanks to the new tracks, stays "just the right side of High School Musical". In fact, This Is Alphabeat plays like a party: an endless stream of exuberant choruses, silly lyrics and shiny, Nile Rodgers-circa-1985 grooves. At just 35 minutes from start to finish, it doesn't outstay its welcome either.
For all its giddiness, however, the album's most intriguing moment is also its calmest. 'Rubber Boots' is a dreamy, slightly unsettling electro-ballad that seems to be extolling the virtues of safe sex. "You should wear rubber," advises singer Anders SG on the chorus, "always wear rubber". A neat reminder that there's a come-down at the end of every party, it also gives Alphabeat scope for development on album number two.
> Click here for our recent interview with Alphabeat