Moonbabies – Moonbabies At The Ballroom

Moonbabies
Moonbabies At The Ballroom

I’ve been called out on this before so I want to clear the air now. It’s hard to tell with this band whether or not they use the definite article The before their name. The band’s name is used with and without this definite article preceding it throughout the CD package, on the cover, the spine and in the liner notes. Various internet music sites also have it listed both ways. It’s even impossible to tell from the band’s own website. Perhaps it’s meant to be that way, but whether it’s The Moonbabies or just Moonbabies, the Swedish duo of Ola Frick and Carina Johansson have been making indie-styled bliss-pop since the early 00’s.

On their fourth full-length, Moonbabies At The Ballroom, they continue to refine their art and employ some cutesy, bubblegum pop with 80’s synth-pop undercurrents to go along with their ultra-slick Swedish bliss-pop, while adding some simple, alternative rock textures to make things interesting. It occasionally works very well, but over the course of the record, the boy-girl vocals and the shifts in tempo and styles become a bit tired and the album loses some of it’s luster.

With hints of the bouncy pop rhythms and harmonized vocals of the Beach Boys and the Beatles blended in with waves of dreamy synth washes that flutter over indie-guitar strums, the music has some commercial cross-over potential that most people can’t help but like. But these pleasant tunes don’t have enough sharp dynamics to give them an edge and so end up as mostly fluff without so much substance.

Some colorful instruments including harmonica, cello and trumpet, along with various electric guitars and electronic keyboards, are arranged into pleasing and polished pop-rock songs that try to maneuver over a shifting musical landscape with varied results, at times mixing in some psychedelic touches and moody textures. At it’s best it sounds like Garbage-lite and at it’s worst like radio-friendly, 70’s pop band Orleans. But mostly the tracks fall somewhere between the intriguingly effervescent rock of The Cardigans and the delightful indie-pop of The Brunettes.

Moonbabies At The Ballroom is also a lot like The Brunettes’ Structure and Cosmetics in that they both don’t contain enough bite or engaging hooks to warrant repeated plays yet both are likable records that are enjoyable to listen to.

Recommended Track: “Weekend A Go-Go”