The Highest Heights

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The Highest Heights constitutes Lovebugs' most serious claim to worldwide fame, as the band represented Switzerland in the Eurovision contest of 2009 with the title track. They were weeded out in the semifinals, which is a shame, since the song is good enough, and not even too good for Eurovision, as it sometimes happens -- a classic pop/rock track with a nice interposition of guitar and synth textures, a driving bassline, and just the right balance of optimism and hopeful sappiness melody-wise. What's more, though "The Highest Heights" is the best track on the album, quite a few others are fit for Eurovision, too -- the Swiss could have sent Lovebugs to the contest for six years in a row based on the strength of this album, and no one would've batted an eyelid. That said, there are substantial reasons why the band hadn't conquered the world with this release, Eurovision or no. The debt that Lovebugs owe to a-ha is enormous, only exceeded by the debt they owe to U2, but that is perfectly OK by itself -- this set of influences has been known to inspire some amazing bands, right up to Coldplay, or, to set the sights a bit lower, Latvia's Brainstorm (another former Eurovision contender, by the way). But the important thing here is simply having memorable songwriting, and this is where Lovebugs fall short. Even the title track is no "Take on Me," and the rest simply relies on musical tropes, such as that disco beat in "21st Century Man." Every single song is pleasant enough, but it's just all too easy to lose concentration halfway into the disc.

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