Abba, the most famous band ever to come out of Sweden. Abba, the most famous band to break out of the Eurovision Song Contest
, "Ring Ring" having reached No.3 as Sweden's entry in 1973.
In 1974 they went one better, when "Waterloo" became the first Swedish song to win the competition. A massive number of European hit singles followed, but 1974 was still early days for Abba as an album-making concern.
Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida) and Agnetha Fältskog were to sing the bulk of the group's leads, a duel lead-harmony effect resulting in radiant pop! At this early stage however, the guys Bjorn and Benny, those song-writing guys, get a good share of the vocals themselves.
As far as the album is concerned musically, keyboard-led seventies pop is the order of the day, yet Abba do visit other styles as well. A couple of tunes seem rather folky, a couple of tunes border on Rock music. Perhaps most remarkably of all, second track "Sitting in the Palmtree" dips its toes into reggae waters. The girls are relegated to mere backing vocals for this very cheesy, albeit quite charming and inoffensive slice of Euro-pop.
In fact, the majority of the album is rather slight, slightly cheesy Euro-pop, and the bulk of the material struggles to match the quality of the two singles contained in the collection, "Waterloo" and "Honey Honey". Equally however, none of the material here is actually offensive to listen to, no matter how slight it may appear on the surface.
The "Waterloo" single (and Eurovision
winner) is now regarded as classic timeless pop - those piano rolls! Those vocals! There is a certain radiance about the entire performance. And as far as the melodies overall are concerned, this is such inventive pop music that it's no wonder Abba dominated the singles charts so fully for a while back in the seventies. "Honey Honey" works with the female vocals primarily, yet also sees fit to include a bridge section featuring one of the guys on vocals, amidst swirling very synthetic string sounds. Still, it's a nice little catchy pop song.
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning
(blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews