For most of the year, one record yelled "play me again, Joseph!" That record happens to be the fine new At The Ballroom by Swedish husband and wife duo Moonbabies. When my good friend Sean Padilla released a cassette by them back in the late 1990s, they were a band heavy on the shoegaze, and their songs were coated in reverb, noise, and all-out bliss. They don't sound a thing like that any more; instead, they're a pretty blissed-out straightforward pop band; a comparison to The Cardigans certainly would not be inappropriate. "War on Sound" made it onto some TV shows here in the states, and is most certainly a song worth your time, but there's much more to the band than that one moment of pure pop clarity. Any album that can deliver such highs as the wonderful acoustic balladry of "Walking On My Feet"--a "Solsbury Hill" for the 21st Century--to the "And Then He Kissed Me"-referencing melancholy orchestra pop of "Shout It Out" deserves your attention. Swedish pop made a splash in 2007, and Moonbabies might not have garnered the attention of, say, Shout Out Louds, Peter Bjorn and John, or Jose Gonzales (those last two are former Moonbabies labelmates!), but just because you didn't hear about it doesn't mean their record is any less wonderful.
Listen To: "Walking On My Feet"
At the Ballroom is available now on Parasol/Hidden Agenda
Labels: A Hidden Agenda, Moonbabies