One of the many things that sucks about American pop music is that if you’re not pretty or stylish–or preferably both–the Powers That Be won’t give you the time of day. We’ll let Kim fucking Kardashian declare herself a recording artist, but unless you’re model material, sorry–KIIS-FM will never play your single. Too bad for you, Beth Ditto.
Now, obviously, European pop stars can be stylish, too…they just aren’t so hung up on it all the time. And occasionally, they’re pretty much the opposite of stylish. Which is why the first we saw this band from Sweden called The Amplifetes, we practically crapped ourselves. These guys are making the most shamelessly catchy pop music this side of Katy Perry, and yet their lead singer looks like a cross between Jerry Garcia and our English lit professor at Wesleyan. Awesome.
We don’t know a whole lot about The Amplifetes because they haven’t really broken in America yet–and sadly, they probably never will. Most of what’s floating around online about them seems to have been written in either Swedish or French–or it’s just endless copy-paste jobs on their official English bio, which has even been reprinted verbatim on the band’s Wikipedia page. The bio says they’re a team of four “accomplished songwriters and producers,” although “accomplished” is a relative term in a country that churns out hitmaking producers like IKEA churns out dorm furniture. Henrik Jonback has the most impressive résumé, boasting a couple of credits on Britney Spears’ Blackout and Kelis’ Kelis Was Here; Henrik Korpi has worked with Geri “Ginger Spice” Halliwell and Dannii “Kylie’s less talented sister” Minogue; Tommy Spaanheden has produced a handful of breakbeat and club tracks; and Peter Ågren, the band’s fantastically frumpy lead singer, wrote a tune for Estonian pop tartlet Kerli. So these guys ain’t exactly Bloodshy & Avant.
And yet…there’s something undeniably infectious about The Amplifetes’ music, and something undeniably fabulous about the way they totally own their awkward Scandinavian swag. Especially in this video for their latest single, “Blinded by the Moonlight,” which features timorous white-boy dance moves, superfluous sci-fi interludes, gratuitous shirtlessness, and the single greatest rushing-back-up-to-the-mic-after-the-instrumental-break move since…well, okay, it’s not really the single greatest anything, but it’s at the 2:55 mark and it’s adorable.