Who'd have thought that the follically-challenged Swedish singing twins would be responsible for one of the year's most catchy pop albums?
I was previously aware of Magnus & Henrik Rongedal as backing-singers on an old Tomas Ledin album, and then when they appeared on Melodifestivalen as back-up to the Electric Banana Band (yes!!), but it was only when they turned up on this year's MF as artists in their own right with the brilliant "Just A Minute" that I became a fan.
I couldn't wait for their debut album, and I finally have it. The good news is that it's a very impressive debut, packed with a collection of aggressively catchy tunes which you will not be able to remove from your brain. Follow-up single "Who Do You Think You're Foolin'" is currently getting lots of airplay on Rix FM and has falsetto vocals similar to "Just A Minute". If you're expecting an album full of "Just A Minute" clones though, well there are a couple, but you will be surprised as there are also a couple of nice ballads, particularly the closing track "Let Me Carry" which is a little reminiscent of Extreme's "More Than Words".
If there is a problem with Rongedal, it's that they manage to easily mimic many other acts whilst not always finding their own distinctive sound - for example "Stroke Of Luck" could be The Ark, "Get In And Go" could be The Sweet, and "Knock Me Over" could (initially) be McFly. "Hello Euphoria" - which could definitely be a future single - also has a little guitar line which has a cheeky nod to David Bowie's "Space Oddity". They do however use their close harmonies and falsetto to good effect, and most of the tracks on the album will stand up to repeated play (which can't always be said for too many albums these days), and there is very little in the way of "filler".
The verdict: It's a professional, well-performed first effort from yet another of those Swedish acts with a typically effortless Swedish knack for making very catchy and addictive pop.