Waltz For Debbie Gone and Out

Sweden's exporting of fine pop music continues with Waltz For Debbie, the work of Martin Penner and Annica Lundback, who formed the band in the southern city of Lund. This is pure electronic pop music, and is some very catchy stuff indeed. Lundback's soft vocals do the job nicely and the synthesised backdrop makes me think there must have been a lot of Pet Shop Boys and Erasure records floating around southern Sweden. The tempo on Gone and Out is definitely designed for dance floors, but there is enough variation throughout the album to make it a well-rounded and enjoyable pop debut. Sure, tracks like "He Loves Anna" and "Shooting Birds" could easily be discounted as kitsch, but take note that this is not lounge-pop made in jest, it is dance music crafted around real songs. Earning respect with synth-pop music will no doubt be a struggle, but with the growing acceptance of underground, intelligent pop music, a band like Waltz for Debbie actually has a chance at being taken seriously. In Sweden, as well as Spain, France, Japan, the UK, and even North America, indie pop labels sympathetic to this style of music have helped legitimise the genre. Now the focus can turn to finding catchy tunes, which Waltz for Debbie certainly does have. While there may be nothing terribly deep or challenging in their songs, they are fun enough to make this a refreshing album. (Parasol)