[19 September 2007]
At Your Service, the U.S. debut from Swedish dance-prompters Melody Club, never advances beyond pop’s staged and “of-the-moment” appeal. A samey, easy-to-spot meld of glowing disco, new wave textures, and glitzy rock, Service pegs its cheap thrills to the soar of arena choruses, moments that glisten and fade like club lights. The pace is fleet; any satisfaction, fleeting. Its 12 tracks amount to 12 pandering stabs at hot single-dom. Whether the rippling “Take Me Away” or “Play Me in Stereo”, a crisp and candied dollop of seeming meta-pop, the cream of Service doesn’t readily rise up. “Killing a Boy” is likely the best, if only for its compellingly tense narrative, however nondescript. When leadman Kristofer Ostergren laments, “She left on Sunday / And he died on Monday/ A girl who’s killing a boy,” the words at least hint of something being dramatically on the line. The rest hinges on breathy pleas and PG-13 sexuality. If he was more forthright, Ostergren’s lyricism might equate to the chatter of Perez Hilton acted out in a soap opera faux-reality. The song titles are sadly telling: “Covergirl”, “Stranded Love”, “Baby”. This anonymity typically upends any trace of resonant drama, one ingredient which could’ve rendered At Your Service less blandly pre-packaged. Perhaps more revealing is NME’s designation of Melody Club as “ABBA with balls”. In minimal streaks, yes, but never enough to inspire any “dancing queens”. The joy of their glossy kineticism just passes too hurriedly.