As the latest in a long line of have-a-go noise poppers to jump on the 90s resurgence bandwagon, Sad Day for Puppets fall into an abyss somewhere between toothless indie-rock and style-conscious shoegaze. Signed to Sonic Cathedral Records, a label known for its exclusive devotion to the mushrooming bastard spawn of My Bloody Valentine and the Jesus and Mary Chain, SDFPs rely on the trusty reverb pedal and guitar fuzz to beef up what are essentially rather bland indie songs. There are, of course, exceptions to the overall mediocrity in the shape of Unknown Color’s standout track ‘Mothers Tears’, a vacuously beautiful song reminiscent of Lush or Mazzy Star but ultimately it feels like they all got together and came up with music specifically designed to offend as few people as possible, rather than going with their guts.
Maybe this writer is being a little harsh and the Swedish quintet are just a delicate bunch of flowers who have a penchant for twee-sounding vocals and mediocre guitar music. Half the time it sounds like they’re going for that folky Kimya Dawson/Mouldy Peaches sound with lead singer Anna Eklund’s saccharine-sweet voice, but she chirps her way through songs such as “Shiny Teeth and Sharpened Claws” with such unconvincing monotony that they all seem to blend into one without a hint of excitement, happiness, anger or angst to speak of. The accompanying music is equally as mundane with a safe, steady tempo the whole way through ensuring that things don’t get either too loud or too gloomy.
If you’re the type who likes your vocals soft and sweet and your shogaze inoffensive and easy to swallow, you’ll probably love this album. As mentioned, it is rather pleasant and will make for fantastically ambient background music at a dinner party somewhere. On the other hand, if you favour substance over style and are looking for something a little more engaging, my advice is to steer well clear.