I just get done complaining about not having any new great songs to write about...and what falls in my lap? Only just that.
07 Dance Tonight by poppostergirl
Killabite is made up of the space-obsessed, Swedish music-adoring Matt Engst and Chau Phan, one Canadian and one American. Chau, the main singer, co-wrote "The Rain" and "Can't Breathe" on Cyndi Lauper's Bring Ya To The Brink, but as far as I know, that's basically all the exposure they'd had up until their latest project, Killabite.
The modus operandi for Killabite seems to be sparkly, female-vocaled, '80s-influenced pop, which I realize describes a third of the music getting made today. The best of Killabite's music, though, is incredibly charming, melodic, and, well, refreshing. You know all those indie-pop duos with cute names like the Bird and the Bee, the Raveonettes, Muchuu, and She & Him? Killabite basically sound like what I hoped those groups would sound like--so really, nothing like them, or only like them if they decided to make bright, poppy, synth-filled music. You get the feeling listening to their music that it could be indie friendly, but their best songs are really so incredibly, brilliantly POP that I don't know how you couldn't be charmed by them.
Some of their pop shimmer probably comes from Alexander Kronlund, the songwriter and former Max Martin colleague behind songs like Britney Spears's "Lucky," Linda Sundblad's "Lose You,' and Robyn's "Don't Stop The Music" and "Who's That Girl." He's co-written about half the songs on the group's upcoming album and, whether it's the '60s girl group chorus of "Ai Love U" or the Kylie-friendly backing track of "Killabyte," his tracks show his pop chops. The group can do the job on their own, though, as "I Don't Care," with its bleepy verses that give way to a bouncey chorus spruced up with little electronic harp plucks, and the moodier "Guns & Makeup" show.
"Dance Tonight" is one of the cases where everything comes together for the duo. Like several of the group's other tracks, it feels like a '60s song made popular through an '80s cover with the '80s hit then being covered again today. The verses, anchored by some deep guitar in the background, feel like they push forward against the beat and the chorus's one-two-four drumbeat gives it a joyful, handclap-like feel, while Matt sprinkles synth sparkles throughout and Chau provides her best naïve-meets-coy voice to deliver lyrics that convey the joy of escape on the dancefloor. It's not a new topic, but Killabite and Alexander have made the arrangement, melody, and singing so catchily, cutely, earnestly appealing that that's not a problem in the least (and there are some good lyrical moments as well, ones that work perfectly in context). The song sports a great middle eight, too, complete with a chanty first half and sparser, hands-clapping-over-your-head second half.
"Off We Go," "Go Down," and robo-voice-featuring "Follow Me Home" are, likewise, also recommended.
So far, the group has only released a cover of "Puttin' On The Ritz" and even that only in Scandinavia, but you can buy it here (digital). Keep an eye out for their debut album, out this year, and in the meantime listen to some more of their songs here, here, and here.
(Editing note: an earlier version of this post referred to the duo by their old name, the You Know Who; they go by Killabite now.)