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C'mon, move your feet

One-hit wonders? Not likely. Widely played, Junior Senior sets bodies in motion.

September 04, 2003|Jeff Miller | Special to The Times

Jeppe LAURSEN wants you to know one thing upfront: "We're not t.A.T.u."

Laursen is one half of Danish duo Junior Senior, a band that has been raising eyebrows with the references to sexual orientation on its debut album, "D-D-Don't Stop the Beat" (Atlantic). But he wants it made clear that -- unlike a certain Russian "lesbian" twosome -- it's not all an act.

Yes, Laursen, a.k.a. Senior, is gay. Yes, his partner, Jesper Mortensen (Junior), is straight. Yes, they make quirky pop music with titillating titles. And, yes, there is more to the group than whether they'd rather take home boys or girls when the night is out.

Take, for instance, the first single, the undeniably catchy "Move Your Feet." It changes from disco-funk to electro-pop effortlessly, with a sampled toy horn section, clanging cowbells and a claim straight out of egotistical punk rockers the Hives' repertoire: "Just put / a put-put my record on / and all of your troubles are dead and gone."

So genre-hopping that it's been played on modern-rock giant KROQ-FM, kid-cool Radio Disney and indie trendsetter KCRW-FM, "Move Your Feet" is just one example of the meticulously constructed, unabashedly fun music on "D-D-Don't Stop the Beat," which has sold about 30,000 copies since its release in early August.

But -- like the gay/straight thing -- the song could put Junior Senior dangerously close to one-hit-wonder novelty territory. The video for "Move Your Feet," a purposely poorly animated, straight-out-of-Donkey-Kong pseudo-parody clip, won't help the band's cause of being taken seriously as musicians.

"It's funny, because of the whole band and the novelty aspect -- I never saw the song as any of that," says Mortensen, who wrote "Move Your Feet." "What I was listening to [when I wrote the song] was a lot of '60s stuff, where the lyrics were really, really simple but still meant more than a lot of other, indie music."

Peter Galvin, the band's product manager at Atlantic, isn't worried about the duo being written off. Junior Senior garnered acclaim in Rolling Stone magazine even before they were signed, he says, and that -- along with across-the-board raves for "D-D-Don't Stop the Beat" -- gives the band immediate hipster credibility. "Other novelty acts that I've seen come and go, who have had big hits in this country, they never had that," Galvin says.

Still, the man who holds that credibility closest may be Laursen, who, for one, isn't especially interested in conquering America. The video "hasn't gotten all the way to [MTV show] 'T.R.L.'; it won't," he says. "If you should have a mainstream career, you should build that on starting somewhere [small] and building something up."

Take that, t.A.T.u.


Junior Senior

Where: Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood

When: Tonight, 8

Cost: $12.50

Info: (310) 276-6168

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