The debut full-length album from Stockholm brother-sister duo Dag För Dag, entitled Boo, starts off with a short introduction track. At the end of this 30-second preface, there is a distant, “One… two… three… four,” and immediately track two, “I Am The Assassin,” commences. With a compelling bass and drum line, followed by a sleek weave of guitar and synthesizer sounds, Sarah and Jacob Snavely create one of the strongest songs on the whole disc. Two other tracks follow in its footsteps of intensity: track three, “Hands And Knees” and the final song on the disc, “Ring Me, Elise.”
This trio of songs can be threaded together into what I am calling “seductive trances”. “Hand And Knees” propositions the object of its inspiration with variations on the lyrics, “If I had you in front of me/ On my back I’d surely be,” while “Ring Me, Elise” pleads to its subject, “You’re gonna cut me in half/ You’re gonna sew me back/ you’re gonna make me whole.” After studying this album, I feel that the remaining songs find themselves in one of three other thematic groupings: distant longings, dark marches, and The Jesus And Mary Chain head-nods.
Tracks four, five, eight and twelve are of the distant longing variety. In “Wouldn’t You,” Sarah Snavely sweetly but sadly calls out, “I’ll take you there/ Straight into thin air/ Wouldn’t you?” and Jacob Snavely earnestly but unrequitedly answers, “I wouldn’t know… I’d be so low,” and then both these vocal lines become progressively layered over one another, thickening the weight of the song. “Came In Like A Knife” solemnly partners a steady tambourine hit with layers of keyboards and a grounding bass line. This provides a beautifully depressing canvas for an equally paradoxical relationship between vocal melody and lyrical content, as a delicate voice describes a potentially violent circumstance.
Track seven, “Seven Stories,” is a Joy Division-like number, complete with a haunting bass lead, evocative vocals, pronounced and patrolling drum hits, and a careening guitar presence. And “Traffic Jam,” a kindred song to “Seven Stories,” offers Murder City Devils-style instrumentation, but with a slowed pace and layers of high range vocals. These songs hold down the dark marches category.
Track six, ten, and eleven are inadvertent homages to The Jesus And Mary Chain, which meld the three other subdivisions together simultaneously. These songs are seductive, longing, and also dark. The comparison to The Jesus And Mary Chain has a great deal to do with the fact that Jacob Snavely’s vocals have a similar sound to those of Jim Reid, as can be heard on several tracks off of Psycho Candy. “Silence Is The Verb,” marches along with its pacing drums and staggers with its guitar bends until the vocals and guitar erupt into a sense of desperate howling. “Animal,” which is also the band’s latest single, has heavy darkness that gives it industrial flavor, even though Dag För Dag is definitely a cross genre outfit. I hear folk tendencies, a loungey vibe, and even an indie rock essence in Boo.
That said, I feel it personally important to mention that besides the Stockholm connection, the Snavelys also have a strong origin tie to San Francisco; so besides spanning more than one musical field, they also span more than one country.