Waltz for Debbie

Gone and Out

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Sounding shockingly like mid-'90s St. Etienne, right down to Annica Lundback's uncanny vocal and physical similarity to Sarah Cracknell, the Swedish duo Waltz for Debbie is either the last of a dying breed or the first fruits of an indie-dance renaissance. It's hard to tell which from this first U.S. release, an augmented version (there are two fine new tracks, "I'll Be King" and "My Angel," appended to the end) of a Scandinavian album that came out in 2000. Multi-instrumentalist Martin Permer's tunes are light and breezy, and the melodic dance tracks mix hyperactive beats with choppy acoustic guitars for a nice hybrid sound that sets the album apart from faceless indie-dancers like Dubstar or Alisha's Attic. Lundback's breathy, cooing voice and the creamy-smooth Philly soul strings that augment tunes like "Go Into Reverse" accent the dreamy feel. Even the speedier tracks, like the bouncily bubblegummy "He Loves Anna," are as pleasantly insubstantial as either cotton candy or the Spice Girls' better moments. Gone and Out probably isn't an album for the ages, but it sounds great while it's on, and the atypically succinct length -- a dozen under-four-minute songs in just a hair over 40 minutes -- means that the relatively samey songs don't even have time to get boring or repetitive.

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