ALBUM REVIEW: ALCAZAR-DISCO DEFENDERS


This little cd is rather anticipated and as such expectations run high especially with a title like Disco Defenders. Does it live up to the hype? Key bloggers have heralding Disco Defenders the pop album of the year. Is that so deserved? Oh yes!

We Keep On Rockin'-Pop is often "dissed" as being too produced. Perhaps a tad superficial. However, We Keep On Rockin' is indeed close to perfection. In the background, one can hear Moroder beats backed by Nile Rodgers strings. Its an heady collection of sounds that ultimately introduce the listener to what the rest album is about. We Keep On Rockin' is perhaps a snapshot of what Alcazar and Disco Defenders is all about-the best of pop throughout the past 40 years much in the same way Kylie's Light Years did back in 2000. Disco Defenders is this years Light Years. 9/10

Burning-This song see's Alcazar enter the modern dance-pop realm with great gusto. My only problem with Burning is anyone could have sung it. Personally, it could have been on Dannys, Velvets or even the Star Pilot's album. Herein, the anthem is not about Alcazar but about being amazingly catchy. Which it is and could be the song that carries them into mainstream. Many online have fallen in love with Burning and while I agree I have to say its a bit charmless. 8/10

Stay The Night-After the rather sterile Burning, comes an anthem bouncing with energy and character. Will this song be the one that sends them to Moscow? Methinks it has a very strong chance of success tonight at Melodifestivalen. This song never relents in its pop power. When Andreas screams "come inside" one feels like an army of pop lovers are being called to arms. It truly is an polemic of a pop song. By the key change, Stay The Night erupts into cheer campness of the type listeners haven't heard since Kylie demanded that our discos needed us. A complete and utter success. 10/10

From Brazil With Love-What was wonderful about Kylie's Light Years was that it not only took you to classy moments in disco history but she also flew you to her loveboat, beaches and allowed you a glimpse of the glamourous life. Well, From Brazil With Love is why I believe Disco Defenders is not merely pure kitch but this years Light Years. Danny Saucedo really should have kept this song for himself. 8/10

Inhibitions-Every album has to have a weak song. Next to the anthems that surround it, Inhibitions is left incredibly vulnerable. I can hear what they tried to do with the song but this could have been an S Club 7 b-side. 4/10

Harlem Nights-Now this is amazing. The jazz claps matched with the ragga honky tonk reverbs produce oh so fabulous swingtastic spectre's of pure musicality. Alcazar take you to the 1930s, Mardi Gra, New Orleans, Chicago and of course New York City. Pop music should be about journey's. And, with Harlem Nights Alcazar leave their comfort zones of disco and explore a different type of dance which is just as important in the history of pop as d.i.s.c.o. This reminds me of Alesha Dixons Boy Does Nothing. As such, the fact they leave their general framework should be celebrated. But moreover, they do it with such brilliance and fun demands applauding! While Harlem Nights might not scream out like other songs on the album, it is certainly a grower. 10/10

Baby-Pet Shop Boys provided this trinket. While its nice, its rather boring in production. Lyrically its no where as fun as Harlem Nights or Stay The Night. Nor is it at all adventurous. They sound like they're reading the bus time table. This song is so boring it hurts. 5/10

Jump Straight Into The Fire-Now this is much better. Jump Straight Into the Fire is a tight pop song. It is also pretty much recalls their earlier work (some of which is available on Cd2 of the album). Out of all the songs on Disco Defenders, Jump Straight Into The Fire will have many like myself recalling the early days of the trio. Which is totally not a bad thing. A nice trip down memory lane. 7/10

My, My, Me and Mine-This is complicated and a rather hot mess. Lyrically bemusing and edges towards rudeness. Personally, it could be a 2009 version of ABBA's zany b-side You Owe Me One. For this reason alone, My, My, Me and Mine must be celebrated. It is an oddity and should be protected. Its also nice to hear Lina a bit more. Great strings and sounding like the theme of a lost 70's childrens TV show this song is warm, unique and rather lovely. Its no anthem but it just goes to prove that you don't need to construct an explosive pop song to produce a brilliant disco moment. 10/10

Funkytown-This cover is perfect. Can't add anything more actually. 10/10

Put the Top Down-Ahhhhhhh, but the kettle on luv! This is a lovely slowie track that really isn't a ballad but rather Alcazar's attempt to do a "we're going on holiday" pop song. They refuse the Mi Chico Latino route, and instead tread delicately with this ode to cruising along which is understandable given the state of economic crisis these days. While Girls Aloud declared it would be a long hot summer, Alcazar neatly urge listeners to relax, chill and "forget the u.v rays". Figge's celebration of taking a break is pretty much relaxing in itself. For this, it is a very special pop song. 10/10

Thank You-Pass me the bucket. This is beyond twee. But it strangely works. Although it shouldn't. Its a gloriously wonderful patische of ABBA and a tribute to their contribution to music. A very nice turn around on ABBA's very own Thank You For The Music. Only Alcazar could get away with it but will emerge as one of Alcazar's finest moments. While many acts just cover ABBA or sample them (Madonna, how dare you!), it takes a clever band to do something like this song. Well done. Perhaps someday a band, probably from Sweden, will produce a song that thanks Alcazar for their contribution to the world of pop. 10/10.

***

Taken altogether, this album lives up to all the hype and emerges as a powerful piece of pop music. It truly deserves international attention & hopefully adoration. With their albums, Alcazar were perhaps a bit hit and miss. Not with Disco Defenders. Each track is tight, anthemic and unique in their own way.

****

Disco Defenders is currently on release throughout Sweden. International fans interested in purchasing the Swedish release of the album (which, don't forget comes with a bonus cd full of their earlier hits) can buy it at Megastore (click here). See the band talk through the CD here.

10 comments:

Kate said...

I just ordered!

Lance said...

This arrived today. I love it.

Robpop said...

Its a great CD!!!! They wont go to Moscow but i think the strength of the album will secure their future for some time.

Joey said...

i like it - though i fully expect BWO to better (though most people will give BWO a harder time because they haven't been 'gone' for a few years... Absence makes the heart and all that.

This leaked the same day as Fischerspooners new album as well so Alcazar had some of it's expectation ripped from it...

It's such a great album though! It's just as good as their previous stuff (which i worried a little about) so i'm glad it's going to be a success for them.

BTW

Where are PAY TV? WHERE?!!!

Robpop said...

Joey, I can't wait for the BwO album. Its gonna be a big release. Bonnier a right behind it. Your right, with regards to the absence aspect. Plus, a lot of people weren't quite feeling the return of Alcazar. With the departure of two members the comeback had the feeling of shoddiness to it. But they've managed to swerve away from the critique primarily by producing great music. Which is of course key.

Funny you should mention PayTV. They should be a part of this Swedish Season. I am not sure how...but they should make an appearance ;-)

Joey said...

Oh robpop that's too cryptic - but exciting nonetheless!

Robpop said...

Gotta be cryptic as nothing is planned. But all fingers crossed...

Len W said...

Absolutely spot on with my opinions of the songs after living with this for three days. "Inhibitions" I have come to enjoy since it was first released, but it's never going to me more than a footnote. I had some hopes that "Baby" would be one of the better Pet Shop Boys oeuvres, but it really is prefab nonsense that never takes off.

I too had some worries when the new Alcazar was announced, it seemed like a bit of desperation for Andreas after the breakup from Magnus and the failure of "Lovegun" and "Move" and the lame ESC supergroup entry in 2006. But "We Keep On Rockin" was FAR better than its title promised and the album and this year's MF entry really delivered on that promise.

Lina was a stroke of genius as a replacement for Annikafiore.

liwo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Neil said...

It is SOOOOO great to have a fabulous pure-pop album that is well crafted and not aimed at 12 year olds!

And the last 30 seconds or so of "Funkytown" is pure techno-bliss!!!

***** 10/10!