Those Dancing Days; Eurosonic, Huize Mass, Groningen, HollandThursday, January 10

Dutch festival plays host to Swedish popstrels’ Scandinavian shimmer...

Chances are you’ve never been to Groningen, so to quickly fill you in: it’s a quaint little city at the Netherlands’ most northern point where it rains a lot and which this weekend is playing host to a Camden Crawl-type affair called Eurosonic. Nestled here among more local talent are an assortment of ace British bands (The Ting Tings, Does It Offend You, Yeah?) with whom we’re already well acquainted, and are thus not the reason we’ve come

all this way. Nor is the fact you can smoke indoors, although that is pleasant. No, the reason we’re here is to catch our fave new super-young Swedish shimmer-popstrels Those Dancing Days before their school holidays come to an end and they have to hit the books again. No, really.

Taking to the stage at midnight, just prior to – oh yes – The Hoosiers, their set is initially dogged by dodgy sound, sadly stripping ‘1000 Words’ and ‘Those Dancing Days’ of the slight disco sheen that caused their recorded cousins to turn so many heads back in October. These problems, though, are overcome through much smiling and shaking of hair, and by the time they reach new single ‘Hitten’ the more subtle twists and turns of their songs are plain for all to hear. And make no mistake, the Those Dancing Days’ formula is not a simplistic one. Rather, it’s staggeringly sophisticated, well-informed pop music for people so young – awash with melody, characterised by lounge-y, tap-tap-tap rhythms and swirling ‘96 Tears’-style keyboards – yet it’s still pop music that adheres to the girls’ mission statement of making people “shake their asses”. Which tonight they do in droves.

Against the elements of borrowed amplifiers and unsympathetic sound, then, a minor triumph for Sweden’s best new band by miles. Once these – and of course some pesky exams – are sorted,

we can all look forward to something

truly special.

Hamish MacBain