wears the trousers magazine

dag för dag: boo (2010)
February 18, 2010, 9:53 am
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , ,

Dag för Dag
Boo •••

Dag för Dag are an American brother and sister duo formed in 2007 (the musical act that is, the brother/sister thing was formed at birth). Upon exploring the world on a journey that took them from San Francisco to Spain, Greece, London and Honolulu, Sarah Parthemore Snavely and Jacob Donald Snavely eventually made Sweden their adopted home, a place to finally write music. Well, it worked for ABBA, The Cardigans and The Hives, to name but a few. Dag för Dag (which means ’day by day’ and is pronounced ‘dog for dog’) were joined by Swedish drummer “Chuck Bukowski” early on and then toured extensively, supporting everyone from The Kills to Wolf Parade and The Handsome Furs. The band first recorded an album in 2008, which ultimately got split into two, a dissection from which sprang last year’s From The Shadows EP. Boo, their first album proper, was recorded in two separate sessions – one in Sweden and one in the States. Five of the tracks were produced by Secretly Canadian artist Richard Swift, with the remaining seven songs produced by Dag för Dag with help from Johannes Berglund.

Style-wise, Dag för Dag aren’t entirely easy to pinpoint but they have been compared to PJ Harvey (especially on opening number ‘I Am The Assassin’), Echo & The Bunnymen, The Rogers Sisters and Joy Division. If you add extra doses of yearning despair, crystal atmospheric soundscapes and some raw reverb, then a description becomes more accurate. What is significant are the extreme ends of the spectrum that are represented, not sound-wise but in mood. At once they are despairing and then hopeful, dark and then clear, introspective yet without restraint. The contradictions work well though. For the most part, Sarah is in control of the vocals, and her ghost-like voice adds to the transient goth moments that are never quite there, yet, always there. Jacob also shares some of the vocals, but really Sarah is better suited as her brother’s voice is inconsequential and neither stark nor beautiful enough to match the tone.

Boo is an impressive debut but is ultimately let down by tracks that are too long and droning; almost boring. ‘Wouldn’t You’ seems to drag on much longer than its 5:24 running time, and there is just no place for it on the album. The same can be said for ‘Came In Like A Knife’, which borrows a drum pattern from Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Albatross’. All of this is a shame because on the fast-paced tracks, Dag för Dag excel at the garage distortion indie rock that Magneta Lane have perfected. Album standout is first single ‘Animal’, a great example of a wonderful, MBV-style slide-distortion tune that leaves any trace of monotony firmly on the production floor. But with the only other track here that matches such quality being album closer ‘Ring Me Elise’, a sharper sense of focus may be needed for Dag för Dag to succeed. Because when they are good, they’re really very good, but when they’re dreary they’re just numbing.

Stephanie Heney
UK release date: 22/02/10; www.myspace.com/dagfordag


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