Dharma - Dreamland, Baby

Irresistible? I think not.

 

I wanted this to be good, I really did. They're Norwegian and they like The Who! (So much so that one of the tracks on this, their debut album, is actually called Keith Moon) Their first single had James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins guesting on it and the second track on this album features none other than Ebbot Lundberg of The Soundtrack Of Our Lives (TSOOL). Now you'd think that would be a winning combination wouldn't you? I did. In fact, I was rather excited about it, but unfortunately I eventually pressed play and listened to the thing.

 

Opening track Irresistible tries its hardest to be fresh, exciting and entertaining but instead sounds like a rip off of You Won't Get Fooled Again remixed by Hawkwind. It wants to pound, it wants to charge and it wants to excite, but alas it's the musical equivalent of me trying to win the Olympic 100 metres. It wants to run with the power, grace and finesse of people like Linford Christie or Maurice Greene but instead it plods along like a fat bloated Geordie with a hangover and where it wants to cross the line and take a lap of honour whilst the crowd cheers wildly it instead scrapes across the line, panting for breath three minutes after the crowd have all left to go for a piss. I've nothing against Scandinavian bands wanting to sound like The Who, (I'm a big TSOOL fan after all) but if they're gonna get an Incendiary recommendation they have to do better than Dharma have done here. Irresistible? I think not.

 

I was excited about hearing Saturdays, if only because Ebbot Lundberg was involved and I was preparing myself for some more Pete Townshendery, but alas the song itself sounds like a bad Cardigans tune and Ebbot just hides in the background (you'll have to listen extremely carefully to hear him at all!) singing la la la. Very disappointing.

 

Skeleton Sings sounds like another Cardigans b-side as does Don't Forget Me, which is instantly forgettable (although I think there's a flute involved at some point so perhaps I'm being a bit harsh there). Blossom ends the first half of the record, or what used to be called the end of Side 1 and is, to put it as plainly as possible the closest thing anybody's come to creating a follow up to Hot Butter's Popcorn. Which of course means that it's annoying. Very annoying. Crazy Fucking Frog annoying in fact! If you listen to this it'll be three of the longest minutes you'll ever spend listening to music. Be warned.

 

Let's move quickly on to Side 2 shall we? Morning Star will be quite acceptable to those of you who own any Thunderclap Newman or Supertramp records. To the rest of us it sounds like something from a 1980's TV Movie and should be avoided at all costs. I Will is actually rather nice. It's quiet and simple, with just voice and guitar, but it's nothing to get overly excited about. Keith Moon's next and I know you won't be surprised to discover that it's another tune that sounds a bit like The Who. The drums go mental (in tribute), tambourines get rattled and the song skips and jumps along with the type of energy and vibrancy that I'd wanted to find when I picked the album up in the first place. It's daft, it's pointless but it is a lot of fun. Sadly they then ruin it all by finishing off the album with Dreamland, Baby which sounds like another dreadful Cardigans cast off. Pah!

 

I'm at the end of the review now and this is where I normally try to think of some snappy line to close things off with but I can't be arsed this time. Rather like the album itself, it's just not worth the effort. Mine or yours.

 

Words : Damian Leslie