The Other Dances - EP
Owain Paciuszko 21/11/2010
There's something pleasingly contradictory about the jaunty indie-pop swagger of Home For Christmas which fortunately doesn't feature sleigh bells or children's choirs, instead it's somewhere between The Vines' Factory being thrashed out by The Bluetones; sure there's a self-aware lightness to their music that is very reminscent of those indie-pop hangers-on and The Other Dances seem perfectly happy to plough this furrow and fortunately their sense of fun is reasonably infectious, and matched by pretty strong songwriting on this title track.
Abigail meanwhile is a perky country-tinged number with delightful bass and backing vocals from Malcom Markovitch, whilst lead singer (and guitarist) Ben Anstis perfects his sugary pop delivery with the same kind of earnestness and down-to-Earth charm of the legendary Ray Davies, and that The Kinks vibe carries over into Country Music which begins as a laidback, summery acoustic ballad. Alas it doesn't quite match the lyrical heights set by that comparison, instead it is content to trundle on a carefree, folksy romantic refrain.
Darren Hayman would be proud of City Of Heaven which has a distinctively Hefner like alt-folk swagger and the band's best lyrics of the record, a pretty sing-a-long-able chorus, some joyful guitar soloing and a rousing, feelgood finale.
The Other Dances are a blatantly cheerful and entertaining pop band who seem like they've made it their modus operandi to deliver a certain type of crowd pleasing, joyful - but matched by both bittersweet and contemplative lyrics - straightforward indie-pop. This EP is a charming glimpse at a band who hopefully will hone these skills over time and craft some truly sterling, just left of mainstream pop tunes a la The Wave Pictures.