In what has truly been a great decade for music coming out of Sweden (Jens
Lekman, the Sounds, Peter Bjorn and John and countless others), the debut
album from Those Dancing Days, a Nacka-based quintet, further cements the
Scandinavian country as the center of the indie-pop universe. In Our Space
Hero Suits is a delightful, retro-influenced collection of songs whose
innocence and spark are as infectious as the tunes. By the time the album
closer, “Space Hero Suits,” rolled around, I completely bought into the idea
that vocalist Linnea Jonsson is singing with the utmost sincerity of flying
around in search of a sandcastle that was made when she
As cloying as that may appear to be, the song is a joyous revelation that combines the brightest elements of new wave and Northern soul to give the effect that you actually are soaring. Jonsson’s soft lower register could easily slip into a punk-lite snarl if given a few moments of intensity, but it’s that balance of preciousness and imperfection, along with the propulsive drumming of Cissi Efraimsson and Lisa Pyk-Wirstrom’s ever present Hammond organ, that keep Those Dancing Days from venturing too far into saccharine territory, even if the lyrics suggest otherwise.
A consistent and contagious youthful spirit brings life to many of the
tracks on the album. On “Actionman,” Jonsson sweetly sings of still needing
“action” as she breaks up with a boyfriend, but it’s done in such a
simplistic, charming way that the word “action” will make you think of a
treehouse rather than a bedroom. “Run Run” is a sugar rush-paced account of
running through a pastoral landscape that immediately conjures up images of
a child playing.
Although the album does lag a bit toward the end — not due to a lack of quality
but to the inability to match the album’s earlier dazzling heights — it’s a very
respectable addition to the Swedish canon. Songs like the shimmering
“Hitten” and the Go-Go’s aping “Home Sweet Home” are just as great as some
of the stuff that Sweden’s more famous exports have released. The fact that no one in Those Dancing Days has yet to reach 20 years old bodes well for their future, and the feeling just can’t be shaken that these ladies have a wall-to-wall pop classic brewing inside them.