All Music [En]: "From Paris With Love" [Reseña]
On their 2016 EP, When You Need Me the Most, Alpaca Sports hit on a winning formula. The Swedish duo of Andreas Jonsson and Amanda Åkerman had previously made sweet-and-sunny indie pop that was nice but lacked the kind of spark that made their records vital. On the EP, they farmed out some of the writing, playing, and production, and it worked a charm -- so well that they repeated the process on their excellent 2018 album, From Paris with Love. Once again, Chicago-based indie pop whiz Lisle Mitnik of Tiny Fireflies helped out Jonsson with the songwriting, then added guitar, bass, and keys. When he was done, the songs were sent to Ladybug Transistor's Gary Olson at his Brooklyn studio, where drums and trumpet were added. Finally, they were shipped to Ian Catt in London for his production and mixing mastery. The finished product is not only the best thing the duo has done, it's a musically diverse, richly arranged, and perfectly produced slice of sunlight-bright pop that is sure to warm the hearts of indie pop fans of all ages. Most of the record consists of gently swaying, midtempo love songs sung with wide-eyed innocence by Jonsson; tracks like "Feel Like Going Home" and "A New Boyfriend" have a light touch that sounds a bit like the Lucksmiths at their breeziest. They also mix in quiet ballads ("Baby What Can I Say?"), sparkling disco ("Summer Days"), bouncy sunshine pop ("Eiffel Tower"), and even a few tracks with some punch (the almost rocking "Without You" and the Motown-inspired "Saddest Girl in the World"). This time out, Åkerman adds her usual angelic backing vocals, but also gets a chance to sing a couple leads and definitely makes the most of it on the very pretty and sad acoustic ballad "Birds" and "Luxembourg Gardens," another slow one that drifts and floats like an indie pop take on 10cc's "I'm Not in Love" and ends the album on a powerfully emotional note. This song, and a few others, show a little more depth than previous efforts, and when paired with the excellent work of Alpaca Sports' collaborators, it makes for a listening experience that does more than just warm hearts and inspire smiles; it leaves a mark. They would be well served by delving even deeper into sadder, darker feelings next time out, but even if they don't, they've still made one heck of a nice album and fans of indie pop could do a whole lot worse than From Paris with Love.
by Tim Sendra
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