Review of Those Dancing Days album In Our Space Hero Suits released through Wichita.
You have to go all the way back to the days of Abba and 'Waterloo' to find the last time Sweden provided the rest of the world with its own really incisive brand of pop music. Sure there've been brief flirtations with greatness since; The Wannadies' 'You And Me Song' and The Hives' 'Hate To Say I Told You So' being two of the more recently substantial efforts. Aside from that though, it's been a fairly barren wasteland of promise (remember The Sounds, anyone?) but little in the way of a final delivery.
Enter Those Dancing Days then, five teenage girls from the suburbs of Stockholm. Their brand of sixties girl group-meets-northern soul inspired punk pop has had many critics frothing at the mouth since their excellent self-produced 'Those Dancing Days EP' landed unsuspectingly on our doormats at the back end of last year. A complete breath of fresh air in a music scene dominated by tired lad rock bands and overwrought, over-pretentious Americans with very little to say. Here was the sound of a band truly at ease with what they were doing. If it were possible to convey the emotion of enjoyment through the sound of music, this would have been the statutory Oxford definition.
Since then, they haven't quite progressed in the way one had hoped or expected them to, and although debut long player 'In Our Space Hero Suits' is a welcome respite from the norm, it comes minus the shock factor that made their initial arrival - and subsequent live shows for that matter - so raw and exciting.
What's also slightly concerning is that the songs off last year's aforementioned EP that appear here - 'Hitten' and 'Those Dancing Days' - are by far and wide the best things on this record, which suggests that either they peaked too early or this record maybe should have seen the light of day a good six months or so before now. That's not to say there isn't enough to warrant investing in 'In Our Space Hero Suits' for; musically for an outfit so young, Those Dancing Days sound more accomplished than many established line-ups more than twice their age, while in Linnea Jonsson possess a vocalist with a distinctive voice and exquisite range that more than makes up for the lack of lyrical depth and occasional sameness throughout many of the songs.
Of course, it may also be that industry and consumer demands have forced the band to release a record that was nowhere near ready far too early in their careers. Hopefully, 'In Our Space Hero Suits' won't affect Those Dancing Days' long-term development as the potentially for a really great pop band lies in their midst somewhere.