In a world where fusion bands have become all the rage and genre-defying is the only way to get popular anymore, Sweden’s Alice In Videoland have got a knack. Combining 1980’s New Wave and Synthpop sentiments with lyrics more akin to Grunge and Post-Punk and putting crazy energy into their infamous live shows they have amassed a cult-like following. Debuting with Maiden Voyage in 2003 there was something infectious about their enthusiasm and the legend of their wild live shows grew, as did the excitement of fans wanting to see the apex of this project. Continuing to grow sonically at a steady pace they released Outrageous! (2005) and She’s A Machine! (2008). None of these albums quite got the recognition they deserved but kept appeasing the rabid fans.
Released late last year in Europe and now available here in the United States is A Million Thoughts And They’re All About You on Artoffact Records. This is a pretty sizable evolution in sound and overall cohesiveness and cements them from decent potential to a must-hear act. The album opens with Synthpop/New Wave fusion lament “Take Me With You,” which highlights their new production polish and some seriously sultry vocals. The party really gets going on the single, “Spaceship” - a raunchy hormones-and-substances dance floor crusher that could easily become the anthem for partygoers worldwide all year. Lookout, Lady Gaga, because Alice is here to stay and they will blow you off the stage, honey! “Something New” and “In A Band” are more simplistic, radio friendly Rock anthems that are probably meant to be played and enjoyed live but will fill empty DJ rotations regardless. The best gem on this raucous set for me was “Bender”-one of the sharpest hook-laden, Hip-Hop flavored Electro numbers I’ve heard in many years. It will become instantly stuck in your head and you’ll be singing about butts and sexual frustration for days. Trust me when I say the excess tension is almost too much of a good thing.
With any album that goes for broke in a particular direction there are sure to be stumbles too. “Last Lover” was a bit too shallow lyrically for my tastes even though the music is solid, but ironically it may be sanitized enough to get played on the radio instead of some of the “better” tracks. The cover of Nena Cherry’s “Buffalo Stance,” while well executed, actually felt a bit...I don’t know...sacrilegious to me. Personally, I liked it well enough but bigger fans of the original probably will not. The strangest song on the album without a doubt is “Spaceship (The At Least Somewhat Censored Remix).” I’m not sure why exactly the band tried to edit this (I will assume to get it into radio-play territory) but it’s so close to the original that the minor lyrical edits shouldn’t make any difference to any uptight execs that wouldn’t have the balls to play it anyway. In my opinion, the band should just shop the original around and hope for the best, but you should listen to both versions for yourselves to judge.
In the end, this is a huge leap forward stylistically and a super-sexy dance album that should stick around near the top of DJ lists the whole year. Once again, Alice In Videoland is willing to push the envelope (and buttons!) of both genres and lyrics to be noticed Stateside and it pays off in my mind. There isn’t anything overly complicated or ambitious to get in your way here so this should be considered an instant classic party disc that’s a whole lot of down and dirty fun. Hey all you DJ’s, I have A Million Thoughts and They’re All About You spinning this album.
Must have tracks: “Take Me With You,” “Spaceship,” “Something New,” “In A Band,” “No Matter,” “Bender,” “Spaceship (The At Least…Remix),” “Little Bird (100 Volt Remix).”
For fans of: Snovonne, Sleigh Bells, Mindless Self Indulgence, Tying Tiffany, Crystal Method, Faderhead.