Franz Ferdinand? The Hives? Bjork? Be Your Own PET? Obvious modern reference points can be showered liberally and pointlessly on bands like Love Is All, but whichever one you pick out from the modern journalistic handbook, you’re going to struggle to define their Swedish whirlwind of a sound.
Their debut album, manically christened Nine Times That Same Song, spins like an out-of-control fairground ride, throwing off passengers with an apparently careless glee, and in its frenzied allure tempting one to risk life and limb to slow it down just to get a closer look at what’s inside.
The two paces here are rocket-fuelled and tender, and from the quietly hopeful Turn The Radio Off to the tremendously visceral Ageing Had Never Been His Friend, singer Josephine Olausson goes through a plethora of emotions that are never less than honestly – and Swedishly – affecting, while her band of guitar heroes and an archly retro saxophonist (who informs each and every song with a keep-doing-it-and-it’s-funny genius) go off around her like a public firework display.
The effect is comic book crazy, yet also emotionally relevant, like a Bugs Bunny cartoon drawn by their filmmaking compatriot Lukas Moodysson.
Olausson of course is a star in the making in the true sense of modern pop enigmas. A dramatic concoction of fun-time yelps and hurt feelings, she fuels the fire in grand indie-showgirl style. Though her impetuous lyricism and emotional ambiguity has little pretension to artistic profundity, it achieves this by dint of a charmingly unadorned attitude. Olausson is a coquette with a keyboard, and when you’re as good at it as she is, you need be nothing more.
With a fractured, anarchic melody and frantic soul, Love Is All remind us that alt-pop truly belongs on a cartoon planet where anything can happen. Travelling Swedish at the moment just happens to be the best way to get there.