Free and legal MP3: Champagne Riot (soaring power pop w/ neo-’80s sheen)

“Scandinavian Warfare” – Champagne Riot

“A lot of bands these days seem to be either scared of or not good enough at writing good songs,” says Caspar (yes, just Caspar), the somewhat mysterious Berlin-based Dane who records as Champagne Riot. He finds this particularly ironic given that today’s production techniques allow songs to sound better than ever. Caspar himself, on the other hand, aims to write really good songs without in fact fussing too much over equipment and such. He apparently does what he does with little more than a Roland MC-307 groovebox (which is a DJ tool) and a couple of old guitars. “My focus is very much on creating simple and melodic music, and getting the most out of the primitive equipment I have at hand.”

Not that “Scandinavian Warfare” sounds primitive by any means; this is one smooth piece of power pop, with a grand neo-’80s sheen (sweeping, orchestral synth lines; robotic dance beats). True to his intention, Caspar delivers glorious melody in three places: verse, chorus, and the recurring synthesizer riff. It’s nothing complicated; he works nicely with two basic types of alternations–an alternation between major and minor chords, and an alternation between a faster (verses) and a slower (chorus) melody. And I think the man is selling his equipment short a bit—he’s obviously got a decent microphone up his sleeve somewhere, as the pleasing timbre of his impressively elastic voice (often double-tracked) comes through with warmth and clarity.

“Scandinavian Warfare” is a track from Champagne Riot’s debut EP Paris and I, which was released last week on Shelflife Records. MP3 via Shelflife. Thanks to Chris from Music of the Moment for the lead. And don’t forget to vote, even if you have to wait in line.

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