Lindstrøm & Christabelle Real Life Is No Cool

Lindstrøm & Christabelle Real Life Is No Cool
Norway's disco kingpin, Hans-Peter Lindstrøm, has been on a particularly strong creative run for the past three years, ever since the release of the marathon-length tracks of Where You Go I Go Too, and although not all of what's come out has appealed to the same base every time, it's a pretty safe bet that his latest collaboration with vocalist Christabelle is by far the most widely accessible full-length he's ever produced. The attraction with this album is not necessarily the lyrical base itself so much as how the presence of vocals influences Lindstrøm's style. Here, his penchant for obscene length is whittled back to four- to seven-minute bits, and the occasionally aimless jamminess he undertakes with Prins Thomas is pushed into tighter structures. Other producers would buckle under the restrictiveness of a pop mould, but Lindstrøm manages to make it his own, mainly through his deft use of old disco samples. Christabelle's voice is often raw and uncertain, with little in the way of built-in range, so when the tracks work, as on the magnificent "Lovesick," "Let's Practice" and "Music In My Mind," the pair turn in classics. Even on the few occasions when the results don't rise that high, they never forsake that aura of playfulness and energy that make this album well worth the price of admission. (Smalltown Supersound)