The Electric Pop Group - Seconds

matcd053  /  January 2010
The Electric Pop Group - Seconds
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The Electric Pop Group - Seconds

matcd053  /  January 2010

Sensational sophomore album from Swedish pop heroes The Electric Pop Group! Following the success of the band’s self-released debut in 2006 and the very well received ‘Sunrise’ EP for Matinée in 2008, the band is back with ten magnificent new recordings that solidify their status as heir apparent to the pop throne once held by Matinée favorites Harper Lee and Sarah Records legends Brighter.

The new album ‘Seconds’ is a study in multilayered, shimmering pop featuring jangling electric and acoustic guitars, bass, and prominent keyboards plus rich bursts of tambourine, strings and other nice instrumentation. Among the album’s highlights, lead track ‘Not By Another’ is a melodic love song with chiming guitars, while ‘Out Of Sight’ mixes keyboards and guitars in an infectious pop hit with fantastic vocals and a soaring chorus.

One of the newest songs on the album, ‘The Way It Used To Do’ is catchy, continental pop with keyboards, jangling guitars, and an addictive chorus that recalls early Acid House Kings. Meanwhile, the band demonstrates it can also deliver modern shoegaze classics with ‘The Best of Times’ showcasing a muti-layered, hazy melancholy with hypnotic percussion.

The album also includes a new recording of ‘My Only Inspiration’, an Electric Pop Group favorite that first appeared on the ‘Matinée Hit Parade’ compilation in 2007, while ‘Into Thin Air’ features more chiming guitars and melodies-a-plenty and ‘We Never Made Up Our Minds’ is an especially beautiful, orchestral number.

An outstanding new entry to the Matinée discography, ‘Seconds’ is glistening jangle pop genius perfect for fans of Brighter, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, The Field Mice or Harper Lee.

  1. Not By Another
  2. Out Of Sight
  3. I Know I Will
  4. Drawing Lines
  5. My Only Inspiration
  6. In The Back Of My Mind
  7. The Way It Used To Do
  8. Into Thin Air
  9. We Never Made Up Our Minds
  10. The Best Of Times


The Electric Pop Group's second album, um, "Seconds", plays in contrast with Northern Portrait's lavish, widescreen elegance: it echoes Brighter rather than the Smiths, internalising emotion rather than archly deconstructing it. The Group, of course, are on-the-record in acknowledging Brighter as an influence (which is just as well, because if they weren't you could simply strap them to a lie detector, play them "Summer's Day" from 2008's "Sunrise" EP, and turn the resulting cacophony of endless beeps into an underground techno 12"). However, while that song harked back to the non-percussive whisper of Brighter's glacial "Laurel", most of "Seconds" is driven more by the Brighter of "I Don't Think It Matters" vintage or perhaps even the Brighter of our imagined great lost "Wallflower" / "If I Could See" single: a drum machine at pretty pace anchoring delicately trebly guitar-picking and delicately trembly vocals (see also the Fantasy Lights), while short simple hooks cascade all around. Which all means that there is no shortage of marvellously toetapping indiepop on "Seconds": the opening "Not For Another", which teems with wistful regret and introspection ("we never turned out to be / the things we set out to be / when we were younger / the dreams of yesterday are no option any longer" genius CHURN awwwww), "The Way You Used To Do", which buttresses its shapely verses with a "Darklands"-style guitar line, and the sculpted, heavenly brittlecore that is "Drawing Lines": an affecting collage of chiming, upbeat hooks (think sunlight reflecting back from the ripples of a lake) but with more positively tearful lyrics. We get former Matinée label comp tune "My Only Inspiration" ("sounding a bit like a more mannered sea urchins or the clouds, with even a touch of the "velocity girl"'s at the end") anew too, and it remains *stellar*: along with their EP lead track "I Could See The Lights", perhaps the band's most enduring song. So the next question for Electric Pop Group will be this. Having given us mini-classics like "Inspiration", "Lights" and er, "Lines", can they follow up what Brighter did and step up their game even further, follow this up with a "So You Said" or even a "Killjoy"? If so, we've got their back for all time.   --In Love With These Times In Spite Of These Times
More? You want more of The Electric Pop Group's choral indiepop? Good job, because this long-awaited second album is finally out on Matinée. My first encounter with this band came in 2008 (or was it 2007?) as I lay prostrate on the bouncy castle on the air next to the main stage at Indietracks. I felt awful after a couple of idiots old enough to know better had kept half the camp site awake all night by pretending to be hilarious, pissing about on the kids playground all night. I think it was 2007. The Electric Pop Group's brittle hymns helped me through that horrible afternoon, and nothing much has really changed. The production is better than on the first album, and so, perhaps, are the lyrics, but there's still that warm, fuzzy feeling you get after each song. Musically, the bands spans the gap between Brighter or Harper Lee and the more visceral thrills of, to pick a random example out of the air, Another Sunny Day. See 'I Know I Will' for evidence of this. Only very rarely do things get truly glacial, like on 'Drawing Lines' or 'In the Back of My Mind', but more often than not they peddle the perfect mix of hazy melody and pure pop. 'My Only Inspiration', placed slap bang in the middle of the album is the very essence of this, and remains perhaps my favourite Electric Pop Group song. For sure, you're not going to hear many of these songs at your local indiepop knees up, but for nights in during a cold winter, you'll struggle to find another album that'll keep you company as well.   --A Layer of Chips
”Seconds”, the second album from Gothenburg jangle pop masters The Electric Pop Group is finally here! This duo of brothers Erik and Martin Aamot, expanding into a live trio together with Jimmi Thunholm (Tellus About The Moon), is once again showing a remarkable development. Their journey from their first self-titled and self-released album in 2006 via “Sunrise EP” in 2008 and the stunning “My Only Inspiration” to this album is the kind of train trip you want to send every new hopeful indiepop band on. Every new release has overtrumped its predecessor – both musically, lyrically and soundwise! And “Seconds” is their flagship - so far! With ten beautiful and brittle gems picking inspiration from the English 80’s and early 90’s (a time when melancholia and brilliant Rickenbackers were the best of friends) this is a perfect pop album for past, present and future fans of Brighter, Razorcuts, Harper Lee, The Sea Urchins, Another Sunny Day and The Field Mice. Highly recommended!   --Fraction Discs
If you’re after a great indiepop album then this is the record for you. The Electric Pop Group have just released their debut album for Matinée and to call it a treat is understating the case. Ten sparkling pop songs which are guaranteed to cheer up even the most miserable buggers in this world. The album is called "Seconds" and is technically the band’s second album. The first was a self released CD which the band issued in 2006.   --Burning World
I’m a sucker for a good melancholy indie-pop album, heartbreak music with pretty, catchy tunes and a bittersweet air. The Swedish band The Electric Pop Group’s debut full-length Seconds is one of the best I’ve heard in years (and I hear a lot of them, believe me). Erik Aamot sings in a sweetly sensitive way, carrying each change in the song’s emotions. It’s a more impressive vocal performance than on most indie-pop records. He sings over music that’s quite catchy – ‘jangly’ guitars, wonderful hooks. The content of nearly every of song is loneliness, letting go, betrayal, confusion – in other words the end of love. Familiar content, but the Electric Pop Group takes a unique approach to it, one that’s philosophical but still concrete. ”Out of Sight” is that feeling where you don’t want to know the truth, you’d rather stay blind if it means someone leaving you. Convincing yourself is also part of “I Know I Will”: “I’ll always believe what you say / I know I will”. “Drawing Lines” is the moment you realize you’re drifting apart. “In the Back of My Mind”, with lovely overlapping vocals, is also about a moment of realization, and the way people and events really do leave you. Time passes and memories vanish “Into Thin Air”, as one song puts it. The uptempo “The Way It Used to Do”, which reminds me of New Order somewhat, also acknowledges that time passes and things change. That’s the overriding feeling here, of things becoming different each day, as the seconds tick by, and not necessarily for the better.   --Erasing Clouds
Almost two years on from The Electric Pop Group’s first recording for Matinée and they have produced an album which, from the opening bars of the first track, has grabbed me hook, line and sinker and I have played almost nothing else over the past few weeks. The songs hark back to the days of Sarah Records with the swirling shoegaze guitars, which are prominent at their live shows, taking a back seat. However there are plenty of strong harmonies here coupled with the surprisingly effective shared vocals of the brothers Aamot which break the standard indiepop mould more than once. Highlights for me are opener Not By Another, the magnificent The Way It Used To Do and the recorded and now ever better My Only Inspiration. With all those listens this past month you would have thought I could have produced an essay of a review but truth be told my words will not do Seconds justice. Let the bands music speak for itself. However if there was such a thing as indie chill out this is it. Beautiful.
The Electric Pop Group is, in essence, the Aamot brothers from Gothenburg. Their self-titled self-released debut album was released back in 2006 and met with a fair degree of critical acclaim, resulting in them being scooped up by the Matinée sugar refinery. Their output has been scant in-between albums but here we are with the follow up and, for those of you into all things sparkly and jangly, a nice little outing it is too! The C86 attachment is all too easy of course and then the transition into dream pop, but this is where The Electric Pop Group neatly sit. It’s full of great harmonies perpetrated by some simple guitar picking, best here when there’s interplay between acoustic and electric. Top that with a set of tales of love forlorn and it is an endearing package, if maybe less than stimulating. The vocal style has a compelling mournfulness to it, much akin to Scandinavian neighbours Cats On Fire, which serves as a suitable antidote to all the saccharin! The simplistic approach is effective because of the strong melodies and harmonics, best illustrated on tracks like Not By Another and Into Thin Air. The pace does get lifted occasionally though, with both I Know I Will and The Way It Used To Be being given an injection of pace through a punchy rhythm. It is perhaps though on the more sombre numbers where the best results are achieved and In The Back Of My Mind stands out, with its neatly layered vocals solemnising proceedings. Also on Drawing Lines, which has a little more depth lyrically. It is within the words though that the album falls a little short, where maybe less triviality and more heartbreak would have added greater meaning and intensity to the material. But that said, it remains an enjoyable enough venture, giving out an aura of warmth amongst the bleak – “I felt as if it’s the best part of our lives, this is just the best of times”. Matinée specialise in this type of genre and, if it is your bag, check out their recent compilation The Matinée Grand Prix, which has a tremendous selection of artists performing new tracks and is well worth a listen.   --God Is In The TV
Matinée Recordings have had a wonderful start of the year, with an outstanding release from Northern Portrait, a very fine label compilation and an ep from Pale Sunday, but the one that I without doubt have enjoyed the most of these albums, is from the Swedish brothers in The Electric Pop Group. Their second album is titled “Seconds”(!), with a large clock on the cover. This is also their second release for Matinée, who didn’t release their debut, but who gave us a wonderful “Sunrise EP”, in 2008. The title “Seconds” should be fitting for this band, I guess… “Seconds” have 10 very strong songs, and I really can’t find a single song that I don’t like here. Beautiful pop all the way through. Songwriter and singer Erik Aamot has a voice and a sense of melody that touches me deeply, and I guess that is quite rare these days. His singing can maybe be compared to the melodic and jangly (but very clean) guitar-playing, it’s always moving and always changing, but very, very smoothly, almost floating through my ears. The strong melodies have always been a part of the Aamot brothers’ music, also on their 2006 debut, but the 2010 version is much more confident and consistent. Their influences are still easy to point out, but not as obvious as on their debut. People who like bands like The Field Mice, Brighter, Harper Lee and The Smiths will clearly hear references in the sound of EPG, but in 2010 the band sound much more like a band with their own style and their own sound. I guess more young bands today easily could say that they are inspired by “The Electric Pop Group-sound”. It may be pointed out that more variations in the guitar-sounds could have made the album more interesting, but in a way I feel that it also would have destroyed much of the strong feeling they have managed to create on the album. I’m very satisfied with it as it has become. Brothers Martin and Erik Aamot have a very special way of sharing their band-duties between them. Erik writes almost every song, while Martin plays almost all the instruments (guitar, bass, keyboards, tambourine, drum programming and additional vocals). I guess this is a time-consuming process, but it also gives the album a very worked-through feeling.   --Eardrums
Imagine Belle and Sebastian crossed with a bit of Electronic and early solo Moz and you have ‘The Way It Used To Do’. You may remember me banging on about the really rather good Northern Portrait in last week’s Futuremusic feature. They’re a wonderful band who happen to be on Matinée Recordings, a small American indie label. The Electric Pop Group are also on that label and, because their approach to promo is to engage the people who buy music from them, I’ve been sent links to two songs you can download for free. ‘The Way It Used To Do’ is my favourite of the two, but both are pretty lovely. As they’re free, and the combined running times of these two tracks is only seven minutes, I would urge you to lend them your ears.   --Just Played
On ‘Seconds’, Swedish indie band the Electric Pop Group play wistful songs about lost love. Singer and songwriter Erik Aamot captures the longing for a relationship that has recently faded. Joined by brother and multi instrumentalist Martin, the Aamot brothers create beautiful pop throughout their latest album. They do so with a sense of melody that touches. Formed in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2005, the Electric Pop Group released their self titled debut album in 2006. ‘Seconds’, their second album, was released in January. ‘Not by Another’ is an exceedingly welcoming opener with a smooth mellifluous vocal. Jangly guitar joins a pop sensibility rooted in the 1960s. The lyric makes clear that yesterday’s dreams of love are in the past: “In a different kind of life/You would still be by my side and not by another.” These are simple songs with sharp hooks - not complex music, but nevertheless compelling. ‘Out of Sight’ continues along the theme of lost love: “Can you tell me what it’s all about? /The fire in your heart is out/I went to see you the other day to find out if you’re all alone.” The love that once was, a repeated theme here, supplies true inspiration throughout this album. ‘I Know I Will’ recalls the tone of a conversation with a friend - up close and personal: “We will always recall the times we had between us.” ‘Drawing Lines’ features pleasant keyboards and guitar along with a lovely vocal, as Erik Aamot describes a relationship coming to an end: “The last few times, it’s been growing colder each day/It seems to me, we are drawing lines between us.” These are sweet, melodically chiming pop tunes- rhythmic and pleasing. The songs are simple, both in structure and instrumentally, but still effective. ‘My Only Inspiration’ is very positive and upbeat: “This is not the time for sorrows/This is the time to think about tomorrow.” ‘In The Back of My Mind’ features beautiful harmony singing and a melodic vocal arrangement - absolutely one of the strongest songs on the album. The instrumentation complements these precise appealing pop tunes, as the tambourine is heard distinctly. ‘The Best of Times’ ends the album on a lyrically uplifting and positive note: “There is nowhere else I would rather be than walking all through the streets with you/This is just the best of times.” All in all, in these reflections about love and love lost, the Electric Pop Group achieves a fine sound and one that stays with you.   --Pennyblack Magazine
Seconds is appropriately the second album by Swedish popsters The Electric Pop Group. Think of early jangling Primal Scream and you have the lead track Not By Another. The vocals are much less twee than Bobby’s were back then, just simply delightful and affecting. The rest of the album follows a similar pattern. There are wistful, achingly sighed vocals a plenty, and the sound of skinny boys swaying and fringes flopping in the wind. There are lots of tender guitar lines and sumptuous melodies to drawn you in and get you hooked. And just because it doesn’t deviate much from type, doesn’t mean it can’t be good. Just ask the Wedding Present.   --Russell’s Reviews
Seconds is the sophomore album from the Aamot brothers from Gothenburg, Sweden, also known as The Electric Pop Group. The record is filled with uncomplicated guitar picking, pleasant lyrics, and attractive harmonies, making it rather easy to digest. If you like extra sprinkles on top of your ice cream, you will be fond of this album. The lead track “Not By Another” is a harmonious ditty that captures the band’s dream pop sensibilities; the jangling of the electric and acoustic guitars works well with the sorrowful vocals of Aamot. The band does a superb job at creating catchy pop music making Seconds very pleasing. “The Way It Used To Be” is an excellent and more upbeat track that uses more keyboards and brings to mind The Cure. “I Know I Will” is another luxurious pop song, the tempo picks up a bit with this song yet it maintains a somber disposition. The Electric Pop Group is successful in producing glossy jangle pop with Seconds. There isn’t too much intensity on this album, but the fact is that the beautiful arrangements and catchy melodies are enough to make Seconds a great pop record. The band also demonstrates resourcefulness; they effectively blend power pop, indie pop, and shoegaze to bring a bit of variety to some of the songs. The band had success with their self-released debut in 2006, and with Seconds, The Electric Pop Group continues to impress by bringing us ten brilliant new tracks.   --Delusions of Adequacy
Pare proprio che la Matinèe Records voglia candidarsi come reginetta rispetto alle altre indiepop labels attualmente in circolazione, grazie ad una serie di uscite davvero azzeccatissime, e così ecco che mi viene il mente lo strepitoso debutto dei Northern Portrait (di cui si è parlato qui) e adesso lo splendido secondo album degli Electric Pop Group. Infatti la band svedese con Seconds ha messo su un disco di jangly-pop semplicemente perfetto, pescando a piene mani tra i singolini della Sarah Records ed i vinili di gente come Harper Lee e gli immancabili Smiths, e che trova il suo apice in The Way It Used To Do, canzone così gentile che è in grado di rapirti il cuore come un vero e proprio colpo di fulmine. In effetti Seconds è un po' il classico disco pubblicato fuori stagione, un album che profuma di primavera, dove le candide note sembrano ricamare su di uno sfondo color cielo timidi raggi di sole, innocue nuvolette bianche, prime rondini all'orizzonte e tutte le altre frivolezze che questa stagione si porta con sè. Non potevo chiedere di più a questa bellissima etichetta che con una serie di uscite una dopo l'altra mi ha letteralmente folgorato, e siamo appena ad inizio anno, staremo a vedere cosa succederà nei prossimi mesi (pare sia di prossima pubblicazione un nuovo abum dei Math And Physics Club!)   --Frigopop!
Quatre années se sont écoulées depuis le très bon album éponyme de The Electric Pop Group. Entre temps, un joli EP, baptisé Sunrise, avait permis de confirmer tout le talent du groupe et de présager du meilleur concernant ce deuxième long format. Dignes représentants de cette nouvelle génération twee-pop, Erik et Martin Aamot livrent avec Seconds une oeuvre intime, mélodique et pleine de nostalgie. En effet, dans la lignée de tous ces grands noms qui ont fait la renommée du label Sarah Records, les deux frères proposent d'entrer dans un univers musical où des guitares au son clair et à la reverb poussée magnifient chaque composition d'arpèges particulièrement gracieux. Si d'aucuns jugeront que la recette semble un brun répétitive et quelque peu usée, on préférera y voir une réappropriation cohérente et homogène du genre. Car au contraire, loin de nous lasser, il y a quelque chose de céleste et de captivant dans la musique des Suédois. Le thème de l'amour, central et faussement naïf, est abordé de manière simple et poétique. On ne pouvait d'ailleurs faire mieux que l'ennivrante déclaration de Not By Another pour introduire ce second album. La voix funambule d'Erik, qui flirte avec ses limites comme sur les derniers refrains d'Out Of Sight, apaise par sa sensibilité. Et au final, il devient impossible de rester insensible à cette forme d'innocence qui plane le long des dix titres qui composent Seconds. Comment, par exemple, ne pas tomber sous le charme d'In The Back Of My Mind dont la langueur et la légèreté ne sont pas sans évoquer End Of The Affair de The Field Mice? Modeste et simplement belle, voilà peut-être la meilleure façon de caractériser la musique de The Electric Pop Group. Quoiqu'il en soit, une chose est certaine: il serait extrêmement dommage de passer à côté de Seconds.   --Tweendie
Aunque no creamos en el destino, lo cierto es que muchas veces resulta difícil luchar contra él, y es en la música donde más sencillo resulta ver esto de lo que hablamos. Grupos mediocres triunfan apoyados por circunstancias que poco tienen que ver con la música, mientras que pequeños y no tan pequeños genios quedan en el más absoluto anonimato, a la espera de que una jugada de la fortuna haga que se les reconozcan aquellos méritos ganados a pulso. Entremedias quedan multitud de grupos que sin duda no aspiran más que a un particular estrellato identificado con unos cuantos cientos, quizás miles, de discos vendidos, y una serie de conciertos y giras que les lleven a conocer gente y países de lo más diverso. Pero aún entre esta gente parece que el destino (ese en el que no creemos) se encarga de señalar el camino que alguno de ellos deberán transitar. En ocasiones, incomprensiblemente, hasta llegando a estigmatizar la carrera de alguno de estos artistas. Un claro ejemplo de esto último que hablamos es el de los suecos The Electric Pop Group, un dúo (trío en directo) que a pesar de llevar unos cuantos años componiendo perfectas melodías de un Pop que años atrás hubiera sido encumbrado por las hordas indies, tiene que luchar permanentemente contra la imagen del puro revivalismo, cuando lo cierto es que su trabajo no es más deudor de los primeros 90’s que el de la mayoría de grupos que hacen suyo el espíritu de aquellos años, residiendo la diferencia en que The Electric Pop Group llevan su afición hasta las últimas consecuencias, logrando mimetizarse a la perfección entre todos aquellos artistas a los que rinden pleitesía. Dicho esto, más de uno no se sorprenderá si decimos que Seconds, el recién publicado segundo Lp del grupo, no cambiará en absolutamente nada lo conocido hasta la fecha. Aquellos detractores (son los menos, es cierto) de la música de The Electric Pop Group no encontrarán absolutamente nada que les haga cambiar de opinión, ni siquiera el hecho de que el grupo haya ido evolucionado poco a poco en sus letras, distando bastante de algunos pasajes que provocaban rubor en su autoeditado primer Lp. De igual modo, aquellos que hayan disfrutado de los dos discos ofrecidos por los suecos hasta la fecha, lo harán igualmente con los diez cortes contenidos en Seconds. Quizás la equidistancia entre ambas posturas sería la más lógica y ecuánime, The Electric Pop Group no van a cambiar absolutamente en nada el destino del Pop, pero mentiríamos si no dijéramos que este Seconds nos ha convencido, discurriendo por los mismos senderos que ya lo hizo su Sunrise Ep., su primera colaboración con el sello estadounidense Matinée Recordings. La prueba de lo que decimos la encontramos pronto, nada más empezar la audición nos topamos con un Not By Another que encuentra su lugar entre lo más “clásico” del repertorio de The Electric Pop Group. Su punteo de guitarra, la languidez de Erik Aamot a las voces, su extrema melancolía….genuina marca de la casa. Out Of Sight apuesta por la combinación eléctrica/acústica acentúa la pereza de su sonido, con unos bonitos teclados que destacar, bien pudiera convertirse en una de las piezas más recordadas de este trabajo. Continuamos con I Know I Will, y lo hacemos subiendo un poco el ánimo general que impera en todo el álbum, que es de un jangle, aquí descaradamente presente, pero que no termina de arrancar, cuestión que podemos identificar con Drawing Lines, melancólica de más. Y es en este momento cuando el disco, que ya nos estaba gustando, comienza a ganar enteros, sucediéndose una serie de temas que marcan el momento álgido de la grabación; My Only Inspiration nos abre la puerta, para encontrar la ensoñación de In The Back Of My Mind, que se adueña de nosotros haciéndonos recordar los mejores momentos de Brighter. Más tarde despertamos con la resultona línea que traza el bajo en The Way It Used To Do, situándonos en los años 93-95, con esa primera hornada de Indie Pop sueco que llegó hasta nosotros de la mano de Marsh-Marigold Records. Vamos llegando a la recta final de Seconds, y lo hacemos con Into Thin Air, ultra melódica y otro de esos pequeños hits potenciales encerrados aquí. Sin embargo nosotros nos quedamos con la sofisticación de la delicada We Never Made Up Our Minds, que marcará los momentos más elaborados de todo este segundo Lp, quizás de toda la carrera de The Electric Pop Group, restando tan sólo The Best Of Times, que cumple su función, para terminar la escucha de esta nueva tanda de canciones. Seconds no engaña, cumple con todo aquello que podíamos esperar por parte de The Electric Pop Group, melódicamente resulta irreprochable, estando inundado de bonitas melodías en las que la melancolía reina sobre todo. El grupo poco a poco va mejorando unas letras en las que residía su mayor defecto, y a fuerza de perseverar logra un trabajo que supera con creces a su antecesor. La decisión en este caso resulta más que sencilla, y para aquellos interesados la web de Matinée ofrece como siempre unos precios francamente buenos.   --360º de Separación