If you don’t adore this ABBA-indebted pop, get yourself to your local GP.
Chris Parkin 2010
There’s just no skirting around it. Neglecting to mention that this self-styled ‘fantasy pop’ trio from LA owe a massive, almost unquantifiable debt to ABBA would see us failing to tell you what Music Go Music sound like. If it isn’t enough that their bass player employs a Scandinavian-like alias in the form of Torg, this debut album is a spangly, fist-pumping, jumpsuit-clad celebration of the Swedish pop titans’ genius.
In much the same way The Darkness’ terrific first album was an unashamed, balls-out tribute to their favourite hard-rock bands, Expressions, a collection of Music Go Music’s first three EPs, serves a similar purpose for fans of saccharine power-pop. It’s the logical next-step for a band of otherwise serious alt-rock types that are known to belt out the gold-plated choruses of Waterloo and ELO’s Mr Blue Sky in LA’s karaoke bars.
But it’s no joke, this. Music Go Music’s members might use pseudonyms – Gala Bell (vocals) and Kamer Maza (keyboards) join their Northern European-themed bass player – but Expressions is a genuinely heartfelt and properly soulful evocation of their love for the Swedes and a bygone era of pristine bubblegum pop that gave the world Blondie, The Carpenters and ELO. With a propulsive sound that’s this uplifting it would be churlish to worry about such boring things as authenticity, but Music Go Music really do make it their own – and without a single tongue in cheek.
Bell’s vocals are mountain-fresh like Frida and Agnetha’s and the songs they’ve written are walloping feel-good anthems with the sort of cacophonous choruses that would knock Mika and The Feeling into the middle of next week. Warm in the Shadows is an epic nine-minute workout that sees bubbling electro and strutting punk-funk refracted through the mind of Benny and Björn; Reach Out is almost proggy glam-funk, the sort of song Jeff Wayne would be proud of; and Light of Love is an infectious riot of handclaps and supremely cheesey synths that wouldn’t sound out of place on Voulez-Vous.
Everyone – ABBA fanatics, closet fans that just won’t admit how much they loved Mamma Mia!, even death metal nuts – should adore this. If not, you need to get yourself to your local GP.