It's been three years since the Swedish electro-punk rock band Teddybears released their Soft Machine to the world, gathering rave reviews from fans and critics alike. Their latest album, Devil's Music, is once again filled to the brim with cool collaborations and fun Euro-styled beats.
Tagging along with the grizzly trio this time along are the likes of Eve, The Flaming Lips, Cee-Lo Green, The B-52's and many others; and while it may not contain the pizazz of their last CD Teddybears continues their tradition of making asses shake and hair sway to the beats of their sound. You won't find a better team of musicians than in the Cee-Lo/B-52's-featured "Cho Cha." Mr. Green croons with sexual ease, more calm than in his "Fuck You!" hit, and the classic new wave band literally acts catty with a dirty smirk. It's one of those songs that can be played anywhere, and it'll fit perfectly with the scene. Desmond Forster lays down some vocals for the not-too-innocent "Get Mamma A House," where the band doesn't let the fame get too much into their heads. It's a semi-sweet tribute to the one that helped you grow, while at the same time has a sparkle of boasting power for good measure.
Wayne Coyne and company walk into Bee Gees territory with "Chrystal Meth Christian," an electronic goody bag with druggy puns ("you take a diamond and make it sand") and trippy melodies that seem to shoot the listener into zero gravity. It's been awhile since I've heard Coyne sound like he was having fun in his little psychedelic world, so here's hoping he takes what he does here with Teddybears and puts it towards his next album with the Lips. Speaking of outer space "Rocket Scientist" drops in to start the album out, with Eve calling herself the robot Elvis over deep synths and fun handclaps. It's a strong opener with rhymes that roll off the tongue and into the eardrums of the listeners.
The title track -- featuring ADL -- features a hand-jiving groove that would've made Fat Elvis jump out of his chair and sway his hips until the excess weight shook off of him. It's simple beats and chorus are outmatched by a bad-ass drum solo that will will leave you banging your head and begging for more. "Cisum Slived" wears its Daft Punk influence on its sleeve, and creates a mood that seems fitting for a late-night drive through a bright city. You may lose your way, but at least the background music is alive and kicking. "Glow In The Dark", meanwhile, has a sort of 8-bit video game dungeon atmosphere, as if it was made to help Link find his beloved Zelda. It's not the sort of song for dancing, but rather score your mission or journey to.
Devil's Music is a fantastic follow-up to Soft Machine, and while it may not contain a knock-out punch like "Punkrocker" it shows that Teddybears are still an electronica band not to be reckoned with. The big downside: you can only buy this album in Sweden as of this writing. Cross your fingers that a domestic release hits out shores soon.
**** ½ (out of five)