Unwrapping One of the Year’ s Shiniest Bands | Aluminum Babe

The band spent considerable time with the track selection, and the results paid off. The flow on Vit ri fied is almost liquidy, it’s so smooth and natural.


It’s a common thing these days: You buy a CD, you only like four or five songs, so you transfer those to iPod and forget the original disc. Or, maybe you sample the platter online and download just the few tunes that grab you. But kids, there are bands out there who make solid, consistently enjoyable records that you can listen to all the way through. New York’s Aluminum Babe made a particularly ace record in 2005 called Vit ri fied. It’s influenced by the best sounds of ’80s new wave music, but it somehow manages to nearly reinvent the genre with a particularly diverse batch of tunes that are alternatingly sexy, silly, and emotive. For sheer exuberance, there were few discs to match it this year.

Vit.ri.fied is an experiment with dance, rock, and pop music, focusing on originality of sound and passion,” said George Musa, the band’s amiable guitarist. “The hardest thing was figuring out which songs fit in and which did not. The different moods come from our own ADD and multiple personalities. We are very concerned with how it feels to listen to the whole album, and not just one track. We don’t know anyone who stays in one mood.”

The band spent considerable time with the track selection, and the results paid off. The flow on Vit ri fied is almost liquidy, it’s so smooth and natural. The mid-tempo “I Don’t Wanna Be Loved” gives way to “Upside Down,” on which Anna, the band’s Swedish vocalist, sings the verses in French in the most lusciously sensual manner imaginable (but the simple chorus of “Up up, upside down” is in English). Then there are tunes that either bop in that quirky, angular ’80s manner like “Little Girl” “Not 2 Easy 2 Forget,” and “Standing and Waving Goodbye,” or simply make you want to head straight for the dance floor, like the pure intoxicating rhythmic bliss of “Everything 2 Me” or the crazily inspired cover of Plastic Bertrand’s “Ca Plane Pour Moi,” which rocks truly, madly, deeply. But variety is also provided by moody, melancholic tunes like “Dream Dancing,” on which Anna shifts the nuances in her voice to something far more reflective.

“This is my first band, so I don’t have any conscious influences,” said Anna. “I guess I just sing the way it comes out. As far as the words, they come mainly from our everyday life and are mixed with some fantasy.”

“We didn’t really talk about style; we just let it happen on its own,” said Musa. “Anna hates to control things too much. She likes it when things do it by themselves.”

“The funny thing about ’80s new wave is that it was a mixture of the punk and dance music of that era,” Anna added. “Aluminum Babe, as well as many, many other bands, do exactly that with the music of this ear. We really do love new wave, especially the darker stuff.”

The remarkable thing about Aluminum Babe is how they can sound retro and absolutely modern at the same time. They’ve absorbed the music of the ’80s, yes, but the sound is definitely their own, filled with personality and charm. A lion’s share of the credit must surely go to Anna’s disarming vocals. Anna sings as though it’s no effort at all—the words simply glide out of her mouth and have the quality of being as easy as breathing, whether she’s cooing something softly or belting out a rocker. She sounds relaxed and exuberant at the same time; that quality—coupled with the band’s precise, energetic musicianship (Darren Fried, the drummer, is the band’s third core member)—gives AB a very distinctive sound.

“That’s funny, because one of the things we were worried about while making Vit ri fied is that it wouldn’t have a common thread,” said Anna. “As we said before, we are extremely neurotic…Our next record is gonna be sick. We already have a bunch of songs and they are both deeper and shallower. We can’t wait to record it.”

It’s worth mentioning that the band recorded their debut at a studio in New York called IIWI, which stands for “It is what it is,” George explained.

“The studio was put together by John Hanti and Roy Sicala. Roy recorded John Lennon, the Rascals, Alice Cooper, Frank Sinatra, and many others. IIWI is the best studio we know.”

Choosing a fabulous studio was only one of the many things Aluminum Babe did exactly right for their album. Now they hope to reap some of the rewards of being passionate, hard-working musicians.

“Our biggest goal is to be able to stay on tour 300 days out of the year,” said Anna. “If anyone reading this cane help with money, a van, gigs, vodka, or Irish whiskey, get in touch with us at www.aluminumbabe.com. Success right now would taste like a piña colada right out of the pineapple in the Caribbean.”

These talented musicians deserve to have that kind of thirst quenched. Because they’ve already served up one of the fizziest and most refreshing concoctions of the year themselves, and for fans of smooth, sparkling pop music.

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