Dirty Loops is a relatively new band, formed in 2010 by Swedish musicians (don't worry, the lyrics are in English) Jonah Nilsson (vocals and piano), Henrik Linder (bass), and Aaron Mellergardh (drums). Initially, the band was formed without any serious intent of going full time. As a fun, creative project, they took Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" and took it through a process that they call "loopifying" (hence the name of the band and their album), in which they took the song's simple pop structure and completely reworked it with their own unique sound. Via word of mouth and no social media promotion by the band itself, their cover gained 100,000 views within two months. They continued to cover famous pop songs, including Baby by Justin Bieber, Circus by Britney Spears, and Rude Boy by Rihanna (which they renamed Prude Girl), garnering much Internet attention. Eventually, they struck up a relationship with Canadian record producer David Foster, leading to their first original single "Hit Me," and culminating in the release of their debut album last spring.
Onto the album itself! The band quickly establishes its presence and style with "Hit Me." Within the first 15 seconds of the song, the listener gets a tight drum fill, high pitched yet powerful vocals, and a mind-blowing technical slap bass fill, which should convince anyone of the extraordinarily high level of musicianship within the band. The song then goes into the EDM influenced, groovy, fast paced style that characterizes the band. At the end, however, an even more awe-inspiring bass fill and an equally impressive vocal run finish the song in style. When I say that these guys are incredible musicians, I mean it! Their technical skill and knowledge of harmony is apparent in every song.
Whereas the first five tracks are all rather upbeat, the middle section of the album features some softer, laid back songs. "It Hurts" starts off with haunting background vocal chorus and then highlights the emotive power of Nillson's voice. Another stand out song on the softer side is "Take on the World," which features a particularly beautiful combination of vocal melody and background keyboard arpeggios.
The album concludes with four of their covers: "Roller Coaster" (Justin Bieber), "Circus" (Britney Spears), "Rolling in the Deep" (Adele), and "Baby" (Justin Bieber once again). Each of these covers once again proves the band's ability to implement jazz and funk elements into these standard pop songs. I particularly enjoy the fact that the band chose to end the album with their cover of "Baby," as if emphasize their ability to make a quality arrangement of anything - even possibly the most collectively disliked song of all time.