Release Date: Jul 5, 2011
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Electronic, Alternative Dance
This Swedish band's dance pop is at once hyper-actively attention-hungry and synthetically bland, like the soundtrack to a video game set in a Euro club. Teddybears' second U.S. release seems designed to be a coming-out party, but it's just slick hodgepodge: Cee Lo Green joins the B-52s for the New Wave-y "Cho Cha," Eve big-ups her "bionic pelvis" on "Rocket Scientist," and Wayne Coyne appears on the vaguely funny drugtronica jam "Crystal Meth Christian." There's one great song, "Cardiac Arrest," in which Robyn cuts down a drunk club girl over an electro groove and surf guitar; everyone else here feels like scenery, but she's a show-stealer.
There’s something about a big-beat album that doesn’t easily lend itself to critical evaluation. However, in an album with no room for sensitivity, I find a soft spot for Teddybears’ swagger. I enjoy a band — or, rather, a team of Swedish producers and longtime hardcore enthusiasts — named Teddybears, who swagger, who encourage a variety of swagged-out poses from their multitude of guests.
It took Stockholm-based party mongers Teddybears a while to follow up their 2006 U.S. debut, Soft Machine -- itself a hodge-podge of reworked tracks from the group's earlier, punkier efforts -- with the similarly styled Devil's Music, which was issued in Europe in 2010 and appeared stateside a year later in remixed and slightly reshuffled form. But they hadn't entirely been silent during the intervening years: Joakim Åhlund was active with his '60s-inspired garage rock/power-pop outfit Caesars, while his brother, Klas, maintained a busy schedule of songwriting and production work for major-league pop artists like Kesha, Sugababes, and, most frequently and notably, Robyn.
Devil’s Music starts with the twenty-five second “Bukowski,” which is just a quote directly from the titular writer. In an augmented and vocoderized vocal he utters, "I was laying in bed one night and I thought ‘I’ll just quit — to hell with it.' And another little voice inside me said ‘Don’t quit — save that tiny little ember of spark.’ And never give them that spark because as long as you have that spark, you can start the greatest fire again.” Admittedly, it’s a pretty perfect sentiment with which to start any creative endeavor. Unfortunately, it ends up being something of an odd fit when paired up with the typified output of Teddy Bears latest album.
TEDDYBEARS Wrongbar show on Friday (September 9) is cancelled. Rating: N Glance at the track listing for Swedish dance-rock trio Teddybears' latest album and three guest-featured songs jump out: Get Momma A House with B.o.B, Crystal Meth Christian with the Flaming Lips, and Cho Cha, a collaboration between Cee-Lo Green and the B-52s. Could it all be as wacky as it sounds? No such luck.