tremble clef

Monday, January 23, 2006

AM and the UV, "Wonderful, Beautiful" (2004)

In a shameless bid to grab attention, I always try to start posts about lesser-known acts with a shocking, shocking! SHOCKING!!! fact about them. So here goes. Anne Marie Almedal is a Norwegian singer working in electronica -- last warning, you might want to turn away if you wear a pacemaker -- who, as far as I can tell, has not work with Röyksopp.

Yes, Virginia, they do exist. Anne Marie has instead pitched her caboose -- and it's a shapely one: her record company calls her "the girl you’ve been in love with, but never met." Say what, record company? -- to a different duo, Nicholas Sillitoe and Ken Theodorsen, who have produced records as Ultraviolet. Viola, AM and the UV! It worked for ABBA and the BGs, didn't it? AM and the UV goes one better, spanning the entire alphabet from A to V!

I first heard AM and the UV on a surprisingly good covermount CD that came with Jockey Slut magazine, called Way Out North, which was chockfull of Scandinavian electronic acts. The record kicked off with an AM and the UV song called "Everybody's Girlfriend." Months later I found a copy of the band's full-length debut, Candy Thunder, on which this is my favorite track.

It's not easy to do a cheery, optimistic song. Our collective hearts have turned too cold to be won over. But "Wonderful, Beautiful" thaws mine, at least for three-and-a-half minutes. It begins with some quiet synth notes, and then a quivering, dubby reverb beat kicks in. Over this a sharp, almost theremin-like sound plays. But this is all prelude to a wondrous chorus that's quite simple in its joy. Between the end of the first chorus and the second verse, the song stops for a second, notes clatters all over the place, only to gallop off again, this time bringing in an "umm-umm-umm-umm" backing vocal. "And who says that the world can't be perfect?" Nobody, that's who. Come back soon, AM and the UV (their website is quiet about what they've been up to), and bring me more joy.

Bonus: Way Out North also included a track called "Where Are You," by Moonflowers -- which is Anne Marie singing with another stalwart of the Scandinavian electronica scene, Rune Lindbaek. Listen to it and tell me it doesn't remind you a teensy bit of Röyksopp's "What Else Is There."


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