Alphabeat - Alphabeat



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Number of Discs
Release Date
CD / Album
Label / Studio
Copenhagen Records

Before taking the U.K. charts and the pop-loving blogosphere by storm when it was rejiggered and reissued in 2008, with a clarifying "This is" appended to the title, Alphabeat's debut, originally eponymous and released only in their native Denmark, was one of the most sterling and undersung power pop records of 2007. The differences between the two editions of the album seem, at first blush, fairly cosmetic. Although three perfectly lovely songs ("Ocean Blue," "Into the Jungle," and "The Hours") were swapped out altogether, most of the six which were re-recorded (the indelible "Fascination" was left untouched) bear relatively superficial changes: some additional keyboards here, a tacked-on string section there, and a generally beefed-up, plusher sound. But the cumulative effect is definitely evident, and it's not necessarily for the best. It's hardly enough of a transformation to render the album unrecognizable -- after all, the Danish version had plenty of '80s-inspired excess to begin with, and its undeniable pop thrills are, for the most part, undiminished. But some of the delirious scrappiness of the more guitar-oriented original version does get lost beneath the layers of synth pop gloss. The spunky "Boyfriend" turns full-on Euro-dance, while the charming choral oddity "Rubber Boots/Mackintosh," which distinctly recalls the New Pornographers at their most beautifully idiosyncratic, is reborn as a far more pedestrian synthesizer slow jam, simply titled "Rubber Boots." Though these qualms shouldn't deter the curious from checking out the more widely available This Is Alphabeat -- which is, indeed, nearly as glorious -- avowed fans will definitely want to seek out this version, for the three jettisoned tracks if nothing else. ~ K. Ross Hoffman

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Alphabeat - Alphabeat.

1) 10,000 Nights of Thunder (04:23)
2) Fascination (03:03)
3) Into the Jungle (03:52)
4) What Is Happening? (04:23)
5) Rubber Boots/Mackintosh (06:13)
6) Boyfriend (03:37)
7) Ocean Blue (02:56)
8) Fantastic 6 (03:27)
9) The Hours (03:08)
10) Nothing But My Baby (04:26)

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Alphabeat | Alphabeat