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Soft Machine

Teddybears

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Album Review

Though the members of the Teddybears used to be in a Swedish grindcore band together back in the '90s, you would be hard-pressed to hear those harder, noisier influences in Soft Machine, their first U.S. release. Instead, brothers Jaokim and Klas Ahlund and Patrick Arve use drum machines, methodically layered electric guitars, keyboards, and a whole lot of bass to propel their alternative dance-fueled music forward. The album is a high-energy, rhythm-driven affair, with synthy basslines and rock-solid beats holding down the tracks while sloshing guitars lay out circular, effects-laden riffs. Many will probably be familiar with the Teddybears' sound thanks to the appearance of their song, the Fatboy Slim-esque "Cobrastyle" in a 2006 Heineken commercial, which combines guest vocalist Mad Cobra's simple, catchy lyrics with handclaps and head-nodding made-for-road-trips chord breaks, and the rest of the record pretty much follows suit, which is both a good and a bad thing. Good because the band has hit upon an effective kind of brightly nocturnal dance-rock that plays nicely, but bad because as Soft Machine progresses, the formula they use becomes more and more apparent, and just a little less fun every time; by the time "Little Stereo" comes around, the poppy reggae melodies and straightforward drums are a bit tiresome in their predictability. This isn't to say that the album's without its strengths — Iggy Pop helps to give a convincing Killers treatment to "Punkrocker," and though he sounds a bit stilted at times, Osterberg's voice is as strong as it's been in a long time, while "Automatic Lover" features a great plodding vocoder and plenty of cascading electronic bleeps, and everything moves along well. No, Soft Machine isn't any more groundbreaking than any of the other 21st century alternative dance albums out there, but it covers the basics — beat and melody — well enough to make it enjoyable nonetheless.

Customer Reviews

Honestly, people...

People need to quit whining about "Oh, the original was so much better, and I want that, not this!' I just looked through the Swedish music store and found the album everybody's talking about and listened to the original versions. Every single remake is better than the original. Quit bitchin'.

this album RoCKs

all these songs are hits in my book (not one bad song!!!)

Get the old stuff first

Several of these songs were first done on 2000's "Rock'n'Roll Highschool", which I think everyone should check out before this one. For one thing, "Yours to Keep" is a way better song featuring Paola than Neneh Cherry. It's not Neneh's fault, they totally reworked the song for this US release, and the result is not as good as the original. No offense to Iggy Pop either, but "Punkrocker" is way better on the 2000 album, too. I understand why they did it for US exposure, but anyone who even remotely digs this album should listen to "Rock'n'Roll Highschool" first.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Notable for their eclectic musical style as much as for wearing large bear heads, Teddybears were formed in Sweden in the early '90s. Although the group — whose members also direct videos, short films, and commercials — takes on a variety of genres including electronic, dance, rock, and reggae, Teddybears' original incarnation was as a grindcore band. Members Patrik Arve and Joakim Åhlund (who is also guitarist for the Caesars) had met in art school in Stockholm, soon adding Åhlund's...
Full Bio
Soft Machine, Teddybears
View In iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genres: Alternative, Music, Rock, Electronic, Adult Alternative
  • Released: Jun 06, 2006

Customer Ratings

Contemporaries

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