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Over and Over

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Album Review

The Legends have made a point of confounding expectations by engaging in dramatic shifts in style from album to album, with the only constant being Johan Angergård's unfailing way with a catchy melody. On 2009's Over and Over, almost none of the glossy new wave sheen of 2006's Facts and Figures remains; instead, Angergård indulges in a love of noise pop that takes the raw and lo-fi sound of their debut record, Up Against the Legends, and turns up the noise even louder (at least part of the time anyway). It's not the organic noise that comes from guitars and drums crackling with overloaded energy — it's the white noise that amps make when they are pushed beyond control. It's the difference between a garage rock record of the '60s and the Jesus and Mary Chain's Psychocandy. Quite a few songs here have that layer of feedback; it can be a bit much, especially on songs (the title track, "Seconds Away," "Recife") where the noise seems grafted on for no real reason. Noise for noise's sake is a ploy that pretty much began and ended with Psychocandy, and utilizing it here really adds nothing to the Legends' appeal. Much better are the songs that use noise and reverb as texture, like the opening "You Won" and "Turn Away," the songs like "Touch" and "Dancefloor" that capture the rambunctious and live sound of Up Against, and those that take the slick new wave leanings of the last two albums and dirty them up a bit ("Something Strange Will Happen," "Heartbeats"). To help balance the occasional bursts of unpleasant noise and the gloomy lyrics that reference drugs, heartbreak, anguish, and — worst of all — being too old to dance, Angergård adds some very sweet female vocals to the mix. His partner in Club 8, Karolina Komstedt, pops up a couple times, newcomer Charlotte Hurtig adds lovely harmonies to "You Won" and "Touch," and Liane Moccia (who used to sing for Brooklyn pop band Tralala) duets with Johan charmingly on the bummer-in-the-summer anthem "Always the Same." A couple of songs ("Monday to Saturday," "Jump") even have the light and breezy bounce of another of Angergård's projects, the Acid House Kings. Overall, it's kind of an uneven record with more of a varying tone than usually found on a Legends album, but Angergård's songcraft and production savvy (discounting the tracks that are overloaded by noise) are strong enough to carry the day and make Over and Over another strong addition to the Legends' impressive catalog.

Biography

Formed: Sweden

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The Legends are one of several indie pop projects masterminded by Swedish producer/musician Johan Angergård, whose other bands include the Acid House Kings (the group for whom he is best known) and Club 8. Initially conceived as a fuzzy, gutsy indie pop act (something like a rougher, fierier version of the Acid House Kings), the group made its live debut in 2003 as an opening act for the Radio Dept. Their first EP, There and Back Again, was released on Labrador one year later, and was quickly followed...
Full Bio
Over and Over, The Legends
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