Glitter. So much glitter. It’s a sparkly world according to The Magnettes when you embrace your true colours. A trio of bleach blondes with glittered cheekbones meet GIGsoup in an old man’s pub in Soho to discuss the release of their debut album ‘Ugly Youth’. It’s taken 2 years to make the electric pop piece and they’re excited to show to it to world.
Childhood friends from a tiny village in Sweden’s arctic circle, Rebecka Digervall, Sanna Kalla and Tomas Backlund, played in punk bands during their teens. To set the scene – Backlund explains that there should be no such thing as a guilty-pleasure (so give One Direction a go) – only feel guilty if it’s actually bad for the world (eating beef, smoking, etc). They stand for self-belief and embracing weirdness.
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‘Ugly Youth’ has a celebratory tone with shattering symbols and glittering, harmonic synths. Now they’re in their 20s, it’s a reflection of teenhood.
The punchy tracks ‘Sad Girls Club’ and ‘Ugly’ are real girl power songs with strong electronic chords and crisp beats. The singers’ rich vocals chant like Taylor Swift’s evil twin in a ‘Bring It On’ scene. The Magnettes tell GIGSoup the album explores “an alternate universe where the tables have turned, the freaks have taken over, the goths are cheerleaders and cool kids, and being weird is just normal“.
The youthful teendom theme by no means compromises lyrical content. Lines like “We don’t look back, we don’t hesitate/ ‘Cause the kiss taste better with a bitter taste” (‘Renegades’) are heavy but the vocals are sleek, gliding alongside synths and piano keys.
This is a pop album fixated on darkness. The Scandinavian melancholia is echoed in ‘Parking Lot’, ‘Sad Girls Club’ and ‘Lovers, Losers’. The slow pace of these tracks add structure to the album, giving time to muse on the trials and tribulations of teenagehood. Acoustic ‘Pajala State Of Mind’ gives pause for breath whilst we take in the other punchy power pop tracks.
Despite the swearwords, this album feels clean. Tight drum beats and hearty choruses is a product of Scandinavian pop music we all know and love – think MØ and Robyn. Pop needs to watch out with these new kids on the block. The ‘fuck pop’ movement sticks. Here’s to hoping that their next album is an ode to twenty-somethings. There’s a lot to be said for that age.
‘Ugly Youth’ is now available via Digsin Records. The full track-listing is as follows…
01. Killers in a Ghost Town
02. So Bad
03. Sad Girls Club
06. Pajala State of Mind
09. Lovers, Losers
10. Young and Wild
11. Parking Lot