A few weeks ago, an argument about the portrayal of emotions in Art ensued between a friend and myself. The basis of my – obviously correct – argument was that happiness can be quite one-dimensional while melancholy is more profound and therefore more capable of genuine poignancy. But if you keep this interpretation in mind and accept a breezy record for what it is then have no problems with Alpaca Sports’ lovable debut album.
With a name like Alpaca Sports, a debut album titled Sealed With A Kiss and an opening track called ‘Just For Fun’, you already know the tone that this twee little band from Sweden are setting. From the off, you’re warmed by a saccharine charm in the innocent nature of their cutely crafted pop songs emphasised when frontman Andreas Jonnson naïvely sings “Every tear is a lesson learned/That’s what my mama said.”
Dulcet strings, jangly guitars and lively handclaps all blend together to leave you with echoes of previous indie-pop bands like Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura and even C86 pioneers The Field Mice. It’s no wonder then that Sealed With A Kiss will have you dreaming of young love whilst singing along to reminiscing lines: “Whenever I close my eyes, I can still remember the time you put your arms around me.” For some though, the record may be too twee. You’d be forgiven for squirming at some of the lyrics.
I remember when you kissed me for the first time,
in the pouring rain
How the sunbeams used to welcome us each morning,
when I held your hand
But this is why you shouldn’t take an album like this too seriously. It’s just a little bit of innocent fun punctuated by an endearing series of pop songs that culminates with a blissful final track ‘I Was Running’. It’s not an album about meaningful themes or technical intricacies. Instead, it portrays themes typical of an indie-pop band but in a simple, innocent manner that’s reflective of young love and its many peculiar quirks. And above it all, you’ll find it very difficult not to frolic about to the spirited bounciness that’s a hallmark of all great pop songs.