Those Dancing Days' debut album opens somewhat bizarrely, as the transition that leads into track two, from the somewhat pointless six second opener, almost mimics the start of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s debut.
The album peaks early with 'I Know Where You Live', the opening strums and hand claps almost sounding like Hefner's 'Hello Kitten'. The song seems to radiate their age, there is a real sense of naiveté to it - this band of Swedish girls have only just finished school, and it shows.
Within the early moments of the record, there's a freshness about it, almost exuberance at points, but this near enough ends after 'Run Run', which is as close as the band reach to any sense of urgency. Even that is soon squashed as the chorus breaks in, which in doing so also breaks any element of variation as they resort back to what they have already been doing on the previous three tracks; namely lacing everything in smooth keyboards and synthesisers while the continuing backing vocals drift in and out around the same interludes of the guitar.
The early signs of enthusiasm soon wane, then, and those moments of freshness are soon dampened if not extinguished. Once we reach previous single 'Hitten', the album is already starting to feel somewhat tame and tiresome. The territory seems to become more and more familiar as the record progresses and, as a result, the album moves forward psychically but back musically.
Tracks 'Actionman' and 'Shuffle' get so lost within themselves, you actually become lost while listening to it: distinguishing between the songs that you've already listened to and the current one becomes a task in itself. Pop music shouldn't be this difficult, should it? The bare bones of the songs at this stage are incredibly reminiscent of the Sugababes in fact, which could be construed as an insult or a complement depending on your leanings. Musically, it just meanders rather than develops.
'Home Sweet Home' brings things back to life a little, but the comparisons to CYHSY, The Concretes, Los Campesinos! et al are only further emphasised. However, the urgency and fervour often demonstrated by those bands is sadly lacking here, at times becoming a muddled mass of indigestible twee, too soft, sweet and polished for its own good.
Perhaps Linnea Jönsson's voice has something to do with it. It just never really eludes the tag of being, well, fine. It never really demonstrates itself. It’s one of those voices that is good, nice and any other pleasantry you want to throw at it, but one that just does nothing to elevate itself from being another voice in another girl group.
Boring is perhaps an incredibly insolent term to use when describing music, both to the artist and to journalism itself, but attention spans are truly tested by parts of this record. Technically it's well crafted pop music, that is undeniable - and on individual songs it's a success - but as an album it fails, it's a distancing record, it doesn't engage you and, if anything, it alienates you with its lack of evolution and variation.
I've often come to the conclusion that I want to feel one of two things at the end of listening to a record: either like getting a big hug, or being molested in some way. This record feels more like a flippant handshake to an acquaintance you didn't particularly care for in the first place. Pleasant and polite, but easily forgettable.
5Daniel Dylan Wray's Score