HAVE YOU EVER TOUCHED A DREAM?
ALBUM MEMENTO MATERIA RELEASE:
JANUARY 28, 2004 REVIEW: JANUARY 26, 2004
been been eight years since Daybehavior gave us an album. Eight long years
for Messrs. Arell & Hammar to forget precisely what made Daybehavior
a great flaring beacon of cool in 1996. Eight years for singstress Crescentini
to abandon her alluring Italian lyrics in favour of bad, faux poetic English
almost entirely (only one song in Italian left on this album). Almost
a decade for Daybehavior to dilute the spirit of one of Sweden’s
sassiest bands of the nineties.
Am I bitter? Hell yes! Where is the relaxed groove, what happened to the
cosmopolitan attitude, the smoothly evolving, pleasantly changing tapestries
of sound? All I can hear here is an infuriating eurobeat and several songs
reminiscent of those atrocious Italian/Spanish/German one hit disco wonders
you have to endure every summer. ”Give me love, one more time, I’ll
be yours if you’ll be mine” Paulinda Crescentini sings on
the very first track as my jaw drops to the floor in horrified shock.
The lyrics of previous album ”Adored” may not have been great
poetry, but namedropping perfume and clothing brands in love songs in
1996 was a lot more stylish than featuring lame social critique on reality
shows in 2004. I am grasping for explanations here. Was the original band
replaced by aliens? Did somebody mix Saint Etienne with Whigfield and
Pandora in a blender and put it in the studio coffee machine?
I suppose I am being unfair here. If Daybehavior hadn’t released
such a wonderful album way back I would surely write something about their
catchy, if bland simplistic synth disco sound with great hit potential.
This is all true, but ”Have You Ever Touched a Dream?” is
directed against an entirely different listener than ”Adored”,
one less demanding and adventurous. The songs stick like superglue, but
the effect is rather unpleasant.
Maybe Tommy Arell's departure from the group and Sweden for Thailand (though
he is still credited as songwriter on the album together with Carl Hammar)
has something to do with the drastic change of style, or maybe the band
just got more into trance. Whatever the case, not a single song manages
to reach former heights, though many attempts are made to rewrite ”Movie”
(note the numerous ”la la la” choruses). The best songs are
of the slow variety, such as ”I’ve Never Died Before”,
whereas the fast numbers suffer from inorganic coldness, if you’ll
allow me to express such an old-fashioned sentiment.
Oh, and by the way Paulinda sings wonderfully. I firmly believe - and
can sometimes hear it in the best songs - that potential is still lurking
behind the bleak facade. But Daybehavior have crossed the line between
class and kitsch and ended up on the wrong side of the tracks.