September

Love CPR

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After several years attempting to crack the U.S. and U.K. markets, where she scored a Billboard Dance number one and a number three single, respectively, Swedish dance-pop vocalist Petra Marklund, aka September, switches her focus back to her homeland with Love CPR, her first new release there since 2007's Dancing Shoes. As if to compensate for slightly neglecting her loyal European fan base, her fourth studio album features a rather generous 20 tracks, co-written with the likes of Wayne Hector (Westlife), Stonebridge, and longtime collaborator Jonas Von Der Burg, including five songs performed in her native tongue. Echoing the glittery disco sounds of Kylie, the anthemic trance-pop of Cascada, and the HI-NRG camp of Alcazar, it's a pure party affair which, with the exception of dreamy ballad "Walk Away," never relents in its fully sustained assault on the dancefloor. "Resuscitate Me" is a glorious "arms in the air" floor-filler, whose minimal melancholic opening builds up to a crescendo of epic soaring strings, irresistible synth riffs, and not just one, but two infectious choruses, which sound like Katy Perry's "Firework" and David Guetta's "When Love Takes Over" have collided into one uplifting monster of a tune. Elsewhere, "Party in My Head" is the kind of crowd-pleasing, punchy, club-friendly affair Rihanna has recently favored, "Intimate Connection" is an irresistible piece of schlager pop featuring Cher-esque vocodered vocals and an almighty "La La La" singalong chorus, and "Walk Alone" is an impressive, bittersweet, electro stomper featuring some gorgeous twinkling piano chords and a surprisingly powerful heartache of a melody. The over use of Auto-Tune spoils the bouncy ATB-esque vibes on "Something's Goin On," "White Flag" is a messy attempt at techno-fused R&B, and the album's constant four-to-the-floor nature renders some of the tracks indistinguishable from one another. However, the five Swedish tracks, inspired by September's appearances on Sa Mycket Battre, the hugely successful TV show which joins together famous musicians to perform each other's work, provide a welcome change in direction. "Mikrofonkat," a number one single for 11 weeks, featured here in both its original form and English-language adaptation ("Me & My Microphone"), is a clever re-working of the minor 1999 hit by rapper Petter, whom she incidentally also teams up with on "Baksmalla," a seductive slice of dirty electro house, while "Vem Ska Jag Tro Pa" and "Teddybjornen Fredriksson" are tender acoustic ballads which showcase September's sweet and airy vocals far more prominently than her trademark up-tempo output. Love CPR might have been a long time coming, but for fans of pure Scandinavian pop, it appears to have been worth the wait.

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