Those Dancing Days, Xoyo, London

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The Independent Culture

Those Dancing Days were recommended to me by a friend last year, but when the Swedish, all-female five-piece sauntered onstage, each looking about 17 years old in their short-shorts...well, it was easy to mock him for why they might just happen to be his new favourite band.

This was totally unfair. Because it turns out TDD make great music – sprightly, tightly-knit guitar'n'synth-led pop that owes as much to 1980s New Wave as girly bubblegum. Their new album, Daydreams and Nightmares, manages to both ramp up the thrash on the guitar and drums, and benefit from an extra layer of production sheen (courtesy of Robyn's producer, Patrik Berger). Yet they still stay far from the glossy and bleakly sexual popstrels that bother the charts. Tonight, TDD look like they're having fun, waving as if they're playing a friend's birthday party. Their excellent drummer appears to be battering her kit to pieces for the sheer joy of it.

Live is certainly the best way to hear this music; an improvement on the record, they inject bounce into almost every track. Opening with "Reaching Forward" – an accurate description of frontwoman Linnea Jönsson's dance moves, too – the frantic drumming from Cissi Efraimsson sets the tone, and the whole thing is considerably rawer. What's lost in vocal clarity is made up for in infectious enthusiasm; as they play "I'll Be Yours", pixieish keyboardist Lisa Pyk Wirström thrashes her hair in a hipster-headbang (apt, given they take their name from a Led Zeppelin song). As the synths and Jönsson's step-by-step rising chorus hit the musical spot, there are feminine squeals of approval from the youngish crowd, too.

"Can't Find Entrance", one of the best album tracks and almost unfairly catchy, sees all systems go: keyboards are pounded, drums are snapped, the vocals stroll along nonchalantly, Jonsson chewing over the words before catapulting them about on the chorus. They've found a winning formula, but sticking to it does produce a bit of a slump of sameyness midway through. A teasing build up to early hit "Home Sweet Home" draws us back in, however, to be rewarded by a burst of pure sunshine pop.

TDD encore with "Fuckarias" – fast, angular, taut, it's about as rude as these nice girls get. But it's their eponymous, early hit that rounds off the night, all chuntering synths and jangle guitar. Dancing days indeed.

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