UNDERNEATH THE FLOOR
ALBUM MEMENTO MATERIA RELEASE: AUGUST 30, 1999 REVIEW: SEPTEMBER 3, 1999
It's a brave thing making trip hop these days. Every critic and his little brother seems eager to spit on anyone who even tries to enter this musical territory. To me that is a bit unfair. Of course, early masterpieces like Massive Attack's "Blue Lines" and Portishead's "Dummy" still deserve all the respect they are given. But since the release of these albums, many bands have clearly been dismissed as pale imitations too easily. This rather extensive group includes, among others, underrated acts like Archive, Laika and Ruby.
The Swedish attempts to keep up with the trip hop-scene has traditionally been rather poor. Better efforts include those of Koop and Baxter, but even these national highlights are fairly anonymous. Under these circumstances Swedish newcomers Hayce definitely serve as a vital injection. Not that they are in any way unique, but the sound is still somewhat compelling. At their brighter moments, like the title track "Underneath the Floor" and "My Sweet Valentine", Hayce almost reach the mood of fellow musicians Archive and Portishead. The laid-back latino-vibe of "No Man Has Ever Done It Before" is also a surprisingly fresh element. But you sometimes wish that such surprises were a bit more frequent. Predictability should never become a rule. Thus, despite being very competent, "Underneath the Floor" comes dangerously close to the notorious area of anonymity.