Extremely cool offering
INDIE outfit Alpine are skiing the slopes towards stardom.
The Melbourne- bred indie- pop sextet have groove, sophistication and quirks galore.
Following on from a surprisingly accomplished debut EP that grabbed attention and never let go, their first album fulfils early promise and has something in reserve for the home stretch.
Just two of those early EP songs get the nod here, with Villages and Too Safe making the grade.
People would know the latter from its guitar line that has been all over TV commercials and locally made soapies.
Neither song needed tarting up for album duties. Actually, it’s hard to hear many differences at all. Maybe a little new echo and reverberation on some percussion or a vocal, that’s about it.
The Alpine sound fuses ethereal vocal tones, lots of wispy ‘‘ oohs’’ and ‘‘ aahhs’’ with a chic, slightly disengaged mirage of lightly brushed guitar- based pop and the odd excursion into dreamy synth- pop.
A song such as Hands shows off jangly, breathy almost- rock, while Seeing Red is as fluffy as a cloud.
The album kicks off with two versions of one song – two sides of the same coin, perhaps.
Lovers 1 is the poppier of the pair, glittering and twinkling.
It is so scant of embellishments you can hear a triangle wobble before some swirling post- punk guitars appear in the background to up the grunt- o- meter.
Lovers 2 works a lighter musical refrain, but adds a curious vocal line that repeats over and over, ‘‘ Take my lies and tear them in parts.’’
OK, message received, love equals not- so- great!
The iridescent Gasoline is a burst of sunshine and an obvious choice for a single. There is absolutely something going on here that is akin to indie darlings The xx.
The Aussies certainly aren’t as perpetually bummed- out as their UK counterparts, but they do work in a similarly sparse aesthetic, with guitar sounds that are crystal- clean and instantly recognisable, plus there is a lot of airy space in their arrangements ( very rare for a band of six people). Not terrible company to be keeping. So what’s next? Notoriously fickle music press in the UK and super- bitchy blog tastemakers like Pitchfork are already won over by Alpine and their awesomeness. World domination awaits.