The Concretes, WYWH
New frontlady brings fresh enthusiasm and inspiration
Disco never dies! At least that seems to be the opinion of Swedish octet the Concretes, whose soft lo-fi indie murmurings of the past decade or more have been rebooted here by loping grooves and a sense of fun — albeit a strange, subdued sense of fun, laced with melancholy, this being one of Scandinavia's least exuberant bands. Still, this is dance music, even if their dancehall is more mist and candlelight than dry ice and mirrorballs.
When Victoria Bergsman departed in 2006 to focus on Taken By Trees, drummer Lisa Milberg stepped up to tackle vocal duties. While directionless third album Hey Trouble stuttered, the fourth finds the band more assertive and decisive. Sure, a lot of music sounds more assertive than the Concretes' wilfully wisplike catalogue, but from the opening beats of the six-minute "Good Evening" it's evident that their sabbatical (various members used the time to accomplish everything from parenthood to joining the circus) has resulted in an infusion of fresh enthusiasm and inspiration. The track is a gently throbbing pulse, gilded by delayed guitar chords and Milberg's airy sighs. As if to prove the disco backbeat wasn't a clerical error, "My Ways" follows with an even more exaggeratedly dumb stomp, bearing faint hints of Goldfrapp. While slower numbers like "I Wish We'd Never Met" retreat to the sweet, whispered-ballad mode, the hit-in-waiting "All Day" comes in with the unabashed cheese factor of Abba or Rod Stewart in his "D'Ya Think I'm Sexy" days. The chorus boasts a refrain — "we're gonna stay in bed all day, all day" — that's as subliminally catchy as Peter, Bjorn & John's "Young Folks."