The Asteroids Galaxy Tour is a modern alternative pop duo from Denmark consisting of vocalist Mette Lindberg and producer Lars Iversen. Well, they are a duo in the studio, though they bring more musicians with them on the road. They got their big break when Amy Winehouse heard their demo tape and asked them to open for her in Copenhagen. After that, the band had a song picked for an iPod commercial and now they seem to be on their way.
I have to confess, I picked up their debut, “Fruit,” from the library with low expectations. I didn’t know about the iPod commercial and had never heard their name. The cover is a bit goofy and even as the disc began the opening few bars only revealed that the singer has a peculiar voice. As the album progressed, however, I heard creativity, superior production, great arrangements, and just all-around solid songs. I find I am constantly reminded of other bands when I listen to this and I drew some of those comparisons in the descriptions below. So some of it is derivative, but that is not necessarily a bad thing in itself. The sounds they borrow are fresh and not nearly played out, and they bring something of their own anyway.
I know some of you are reading this and saying, “Strange and derivative Danish pop, eh? Oh, boy.” But really, the variety of sounds they play is almost Beck-esque and the conviction and courage with which they play even their stranger songs makes them work. I ripped 6 of the disc’s 12 tracks so I’m giving this a whole-hearted thumbs-up. Give these a listen and see if you don’t agree.
- Lady Jesus – The first verse just has acoustic guitar and hand claps backing a simple but appealing melody that is gang sung. Eventually, keyboards and horns come in and it bounces along irresistibly.
- The Sun Ain’t Shining No More – The funky groove reminds me of “Walking on the Sun” by Smash Mouth. The main differences, in fact, are strings instead of keyboards and female lead vocals instead of male.
- Push the Envelope – Great big, crushing keyboards and power chord guitar back Lindberg singing a brilliant vocal melody. This is not a track that makes you want to get up and dance, but it is powerful and cool.
- Satellite – The verses remind me a bit of The Breeders because of the thin, slightly weird guitar line and the vocal melody. The chorus is straight up mainstream pop, though.
- Hero – This is a mellow and slightly oozy love song with sparse occasional horns. This one reminds me a little of Macy Gray, actually.
- Inner City Blues – OK. This is a fantastic cover of this Marvin Gaye song. Fantastic. This is Cat Power meets Zero 7. If you follow this link, make sure you stay for at least 2 minutes until the song gets going.
“Fruit” came out just under a year ago in September of 2009 (in Europe, October in the U.S.). One hopes they are hard at work on a strong sophomore effort.