tylus has already covered the punchline to the UK Top 40 Album Chart for the week ending 11/03/07, as heavily hyped Cramps tribute act The Horrors, fuelled by six months and two tons of hype, charted at a triumphant #37. One place ahead of the debut solo album by the world's greatest Nicholas Lyndhurst look-alike. But we’ve already covered that, no need to kick a kohl-eyed horse when he’s down. No, this review deals with the other anomaly that chart threw up: a #6 placing for Everytime We Touch by German trance-pop throwbacks Cascada. This kind of houseless chart dance is something most people assumed the UK had grown out of by 2007, and its approach into full-length territory was supposed to have passed away with the demise of acts like Alice Deejay (Who Needs Guitars Anyway?, #8, July 2000) and Ian Van Dahl (Ace, #7, June 2002).
It doesn’t necessarily work like that though. The truth? A large amount of the UK’s population never see their heroes on the top 40 countdown, despite these guys packing them in at the clubs every Friday and Saturday night. The genres these acts come from are well known and critically reviled, especially by the dance press: pop trance, Northern house, etc. etc. There was a bout of hand-wringing in 2002 over the notion that Dance Music Had Died. It hadn’t, it just shifted its base from inside the M25 up to your Wigans, your Blackburns, your Birkenheads. The dance press got shook, pretended to a man that this kind of stuff wasn’t going, and tried to convince themselves that there was more mileage in Fischerspooner than Ultrabeat. Then they went bankrupt.
Enough with the armchair sociology, however. Cascada have hit the charts hard, whilst the acts who sandwich them in provincial town DJ sets go MIA when it comes to singles sales, because they take it back to as basic a level as possible. Repetition, sing-songy vocals of crushing sincerity, and good old fashioned DOONSH-DOONSH-DOONSH beats that your elder brother heard at his first ever £10-All-You-Can-Drink night.
The big single, “Everytime We Touch,” is a case in point. It comes off more like a remix of a Europop track than an original. Vocalist Natalie Horler sounds as if she put her hair in pigtails specifically to sing. “Miracle,” on the other hand, is the end result of a bunch of producers kicking back in the studio going “Hey... whatever happened to Lasgo? I think we could do a track like those guys, y’know?”
The problem with Everytime We Touch should be obvious to anyone: this is an album in a non-album genre. Thus, there’s filler. A lot of filler. Five cover versions, including “interpretations” of Savage Garden and Nik Kershaw, and a fantastically pointless version of Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America,” which removes the original’s cocaine paranoia and replaces it with some German guys going “la la la la la.” Not as fun as it sounds. Plus, the string of down-tempo quasi-ballads have nothing in the way of energy, which Cascada conserves for the album’s (admittedly impressive) two or three highlights.
It’s an album worth listening to—if you want a pretty vital look into the overlooked masses of British popular culture. I’m not saying that listening to Cascada will necessarily make you the vanguard of the class war, but it will make you a little more informed on the issues behind it....