Those Dancing Days - Daydreams and Nightmares

by Rich Morris Rating:6 Release Date:2011-02-28

Sweden's Those Dancing Days follow up the DIY ingénue charm of their debut with this more polished effort, crafted with the help of producer Patrik Berger, best known for his recent work with Robyn. The Robyn connection is significant, since Daydreams and Nightmares, even more than In Our Space Hero Suits, is an unabashed pop record. Opener 'Reaching Forward' has a synth-pop gloss over its spiky guitars and tumbling drums. Linnea Jönsson's voice, always soulful beyond her years, is pushed centre-stage.

Unlike their debut, the pop moments here are often uncomplicated. Whereas the previous album's biggest sugar-rush, 'Hitten', was charmingly awkward, with Jönsson wailing,"Do you really think I could rely on this new person I have become", this time around songs such as 'One Day Forever' (a duet with The Maccabees' Orlando Weeks) and 'I'll Be Yours' hide no angst behind chocolate box lyrics such as, "Now that I've found you/ wishes do come true". Yet, these sentiments don't seem contrived, and the TDD members still sound like they belong in a cute yet surreal animé about magic schoolgirls, so you can allow yourself to get swept up in the sweetness.

On the other hand, the pummelling drums and attitudinal lyrics of 'Fuckarias' show a new-found aggressive streak, resulting in some bratty punk-pop which should satisfy fans of both Bikini Kill and Pink. A few more moments like this would have made Daydreams and Nightmares a more balanced record. In sheering off their rough edges, TDD have arrived at a more conventional sound. That in itself wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing - every band has to evolve - but this second effort contains too many lovestruck daydreams and not enough nightmares.

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