At the Ballroom

Hidden Agenda

Continuing in the same huge pop explosion as The Orange Billboard, The Moonbabies latest full-length is another genre-spanner with dogeared pages in many fakebooks. One thing the duo of Ola Frick and Carina Johansson keep consist is the ability to make spry indie pop sound as lush and large as stadium rock. “War On Sound” is the disc’s first proper song and has already been featured on a stop gap EP, as well as a spot on the television series “Grey’s Anatomy.” It’s lead with a steamroller drum beat that segues nicely into a Pinback-esque groove of stretched rubber and Johansson’s cooing background vocals. It’s probably the album’s most immediately accessible and effervescent track with enough energy to sustain the momentum through the lovely, though relatively restrained numbers like the folkier “Take Me to the Ballroom” and the slow burning Yo La Tengo intro on “The 9th.” Electronica takes hold of the fringes of “Don’t Ya Know?” threading through the rhythm section and backing the duo’s multi-tracked vocal harmonies. The two-chord bludgeon manifests itself on “Weekend A-Go-Go,” a sweaty Scandinavian homage to the Arcade Fire’s incessant propulsion. In the face of all this borrowing and reconfiguration, The Moonbabies’ voice still shines through their reflected love for pop music’s already established greats. Hopefully someday they’ll get the same treatment.


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