Alpine, you tease. It seems like years since this band first appeared on the radio and touring circuit. They have only now stopped playing hard to get with their freshly released debut album A is for Alpine out via Ivy League Records.
Alpine did enough to excite me without entirely convincing me with their EP Zurich. They had the tunes and the atmosphere sorted but I had issues with some of their slightly naff lyrics. With A is for Alpine, the standard has been seriously ratcheted up a notch. I’ve played Alpine’s latest single ‘Gasoline’ on repeat a shameful number of times and have been desperately awaiting the release, since it started getting airplay.
‘Gasoline’ is a standout on the album with a slightly different sound to most of the other tracks, but still with the distinctive duo-lead-vocals of Lou James and Phoebe Baker. James and Baker’s vocals is the band’s differentiator. Their voices blending so seamlessly you don’t even know who sings which parts, until you see them live and pouncing around the stage in time with their breathy enunciations. ‘Gasoline’ is the culmination of Alpine’s signature sound, romantic and lush but with a kicker of a flirtatious beat. If Alpine have got the whole Swiss theme going on, it’d definitely be the French speaking part of Switzerland.
Other high points of A is for Alpine are previous single ‘Hands’, old favourites ‘Villages’ and ‘Too Safe’ from Zurich, and the delicately layered ‘Softsides.’ I’m also a fan of its heady opening tracks. I love the subtle switch from the more innocent ‘Lovers 1’ to the rhythmically seductive ‘Lovers 2.’ It’s a great intro to the album before it kicks into some of the more accessible tracks.
A is for Alpine isn’t all roses. I got a bit bored with a few songs towards the end of the album that seemed more like interludes between the stronger tracks. I’m just being picky though, on the whole it’s a convincing debut with an impressive suite of singles.