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Kleerup Iain Moffat , June 10th, 2009 06:01

In these post-Top Of The Tops times, actually being top of the pops is no longer enough to guarantee you any sort of household namedom; after all, such featured artists as Chrome, Colby O'Donis and DJ Mental Theo won't be needing sizeable venues to host their next fan club meetings. Andreas Kleerup, however, has a tremendous advantage over all those other gents: in an age when Swedepop is eating itself to an impressive degree, and with even more impressive results, he's managed to blag himself a seat at the top table.

Which isn't to say that he's not striking while the iron's tepid — it is, after all, two years since 'With Every Heartbeat', his collaboration with Robyn, hit the top spot. However, hearing it again is a valuable reminder both of its broad, genre-jumping critical and commercial currency — still a terrifically exact balance to strike — and its piquant, almost primal poignancy. Almost inevitably, it's still the best thing here; intriguingly, though, not by the margin you might imagine. Recent single 'Longing For Lullabies', for instance, runs it thrillingly close, Titiyo's old-souled vocals pouring a torrent of teary warmth onto an alluringly airy glide of a canvas, and 'Iris' is arguably more remarkable still, coiling itself up as a compact, re-envisioned hybrid of Sebastien Tellier's 'Sexual Sportswear' and Leftfield's 'Melt'. 'The End', though not the grand finale here (much as it perhaps ought to have been, given not only its handle but also its coda-like playfulness), does well to bolster its hooky synthesised flutes with what could reasonably be regarded as, well, Hooky bass. Oh, and those faux-Satie pianos in the dying moments of 'Until We Bleed'? Brief, yes, but satisfyingly luscious with it.

Not that Kleerup is a flawless confection, mind you. Lykke Li, for instance, always an intermittent boon even on her own records, sounds ill at ease and unfortunately remote. And — as you might guess from the combination of the more familiar material here and a tracklisting that includes 'On My Own Again' and the syntactically-curious 'I Just Want To Make That Sad Boy' — the button marked "melancholy" may have been ominously close to breaking point by the time this collection was finished. Moreover — and we're more than happy to concede that this may be more of a mark of courage than a deficiency — for someone who had self-styled tastemaker approval bestowed upon them even while collaborating with an erstwhile Max Martin protege, Kleerup consistently courts controversy with his reference points. He may cite Vangelis as an influence, but the more prominent air is that of 'Equinoxe'-era Jean-Michel Jarre. Distant Europop also looms large (notably on unnaturally chirpy instrumental opener 'Hero', which screams of the Mediterranean mid-80s in general and Taffy's 'Once More' if you want to get specific), and S Club 7 — or at least one of their affiliates — stand to be distressed and dazzled by the familiarity of 'Ain't No Stopping'.

Ultimately, Kleerup is a perplexing addition to the present popscape: too consistently brokenhearted to be swept up in the wonky pop maelstrom, too uniquely obtuse to sit comfortably with the rest of the year's electronica excellence, and too inconsistent by half. Still, the moments of magic that pepper it make it at the very least good enough to waste some time on; it's not going to make Kleerup a star, but, at his best, he's got twinkle to spare.