Alphabeat – ‘Shadows’
The true sign of a timeless pop act is that you can vividly recall the exact moment when and where you first discovered their glorious noises. Carly Rae Jepsen? My local Carphone Warehouse in the spring of 2012, where I was trying to buy a Windows Phone until that ‘Call Me Maybe’ magic rudely distracted me from their nattering about switching to Vodafone. Mark Ronson? A ‘Stop Me’-soundtracked montage as part of the BBC’s 2007 Cricket World Cup coverage, which would end being replicated by Disclosure four years later. Dua Lipa? In early 2016, Surge Radio’s then-Head of Music was stunned I hadn’t heard literally everyone raving (rightly) about her, so he put ‘Last Dance’ on and won me over in 30-odd seconds. The Killers? ‘Smile Like You Mean It’ played across the end of the same 2005 Goodwood Festival of Speed highlights package that featured a split-second shot of me in a crowd clamouring for David Coulthard’s autograph at a Scalextric stand. I still have the VHS. Calvin Harris? Some time in 2007, either with him being a bit odd in a T4 On The Beach interview or through hearing ‘The Girls’ in a Crawley branch of Wimpy. Either way, no wonder it took two years for me to realise how good he was.
The reason I bring these up is recalling one of the most glorious bits of daytime telly I’ve ever experienced came in February 2008, where half a dozen baby-faced Danes by the name of Alphabeat appeared on the GMTV settee with Fiona Phillips and Ben Shephard to share the wondrous gift of ‘Fascination’ with me, my grandma, my bowl of Shreddies, and however many million other people weren’t on BBC One for some reason. Through the following four-ish years of pop majesty, they were pretty much constantly at the forefront of the bewilderingly lively wonky pop I really fell in love with – see ‘The Spell’, ‘DJ’, ‘10,000 Nights’, ‘Hole In My Heart’, whatever their bloody wonderful Christmas song was called, and such – but then, like all good bands, they decided to call it quits in 2013, and it’s probably no coincidence that literally everything in the world seems to have gradually deteriorated into a somewhat depressing soup of misery along the same sort of timeline.
BUT THAT ALL CHANGED ON FRIDAY. Stine, Rasmus, Troels, and – no joke – three chaps by the name of Anders are officially back in pop business, and ‘Shadows’ alone has them in fairly strong contention for the most startling and enjoyable comeback we’ll hear in 2019. In an interview with the Official Charts folks, they talk about how “totally dried out and drained of inspiration” they’d become, but thankfully that hiatus hasn’t dampened their ability to, well, goof around in a peculiarly-lit forest shed and put together this sort of dangerously contagious apparently Motown-inspired delight. It’s inevitably the first of many things we’ll hear from them between now and the end of time, and as if to prove just how committed they are to making everything better with the power of the bop, one of the first gigs they’ve announced conveniently happens to be on my birthday. Anyone for a party in Aarhus?