- Released: January 19, 2010
- Label: Smalltown Supersound
Spin - p.66
"[T]he chopped-up vocal samples on opener 'Looking for What' are guaranteed to meld minds, while airy centerpiece 'Keep It Up' defies gravity..."
"[The album] employs its 10 short songs as a foil to Lindstrom's previously released work, demonstrating his congenial versatility as both technical prodigy and pop maven."
Paste (magazine) (p.65) - "REAL LIFE IS NO COOL is a tasteful take on the edgier side of '80s pop radio -- like the lucid oddities of Kate Bush -- but with a dash of classic soul."
Pitchfork (Website) - "[A] free-floating collection of sounds that not only still works as pastiche, but also somehow provides the basis for a remarkable dance record."
- 1.Looking for What
- 3.Let It Happen
- 4.Keep It Up
- 5.Music in My Mind
- 6.Baby Can't Stop
- 7.Let's Practise
- 8.So Much Fun
- 9.Never Say Never
- 10.High & Low
Audio Mixer: Hans Peter Lindstrom.
Recording information: Feedelity Studio; Krise Studios.
Hans-Peter Lindstrom and Christabelle have been familiar with one another since 2001, when the latter casually recorded vocals over some of the former's tracks. This led to full-fledged collaborations, and a handful of modern electro-disco singles issued across the following several years. First, there was the dreamy, slightly narcotized "Music (In My Mind)," released in 2003. In 2007, there was the flirty and Moroder-propulsive "Let's Practise," as well as a cover of Vangelis' "Let It Happen," which converted the original's phantasmic space-folk into something far more inviting, sheathed in bright, Modernist-like cyclic prickles. Then, toward the end of 2009, the duo released "Baby Can't Stop," a gorgeous, breezy fusion of candy-coated synth-funk rhythms, sophisti-pop horns, fidgety guitar wriggles cribbed from Off the Wall, and Christabelle's most confident, extroverted vocal to that point. (She's more likely to resemble the half-awake kid sister of Kim Carnes.) All of these songs (most of them in slightly edited form) are featured on Real Life Is No Cool, an album full of productions that are succinct -- by Lindstrom's normally widescreen standard, at least -- yet stuffed with sumptuous sonic twists, many of which masterfully recombine familiar elements of dance-pop from the late '70s through the early '90s. Just about all of the new tracks would make fine A-sides, though they all fall into place as part of a flowing album, from a charmingly tentative, momentum-gathering opener ("Looking for What"), to a chiming kind of ambient holding pattern that acts as a bridge between "Let It Happen" and "Music in My Mind" ("Keep It Up"), to a sighing romantic closer seemingly made for the Nordic equivalent of a blue-light basement party ("High and Low"). "So Much Fun" is the absolute best of the new tracks, a rapid rush of ecstatic piano house. ~ Andy Kellman