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Music Review

Cascada: 'Perfect Day'

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Cascada: 'Perfect Day'
Released on Monday, Dec 3 2007

Troubling as it is, Cascada might just be the unlikely success story of 2007. The German dance trio have sold 400,000 copies of their debut album in the UK alone, nabbed a World Music Award and even managed to score a top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100, a chart that's been as resistant to dance music in recent times as the entz committee of your local W.I. It's tempting to attribute their remarkable success to an enviable Germanic work ethic: just nine months after Cascada unleashed Everytime We Touch, that unit-shifting debut, its follow-up is already on the shelves.

Unfortunately, Perfect Day is an album that wears its speedy turnaround time on its sleeve. (Quite literally – that cover art could have been designed by an A-Level graphics student.) Though nobody expects dancefloor innovation from Cascada – this lot are aiming to fill the floor at Jumpin' Jaks, not Fabric - the unfailing, relentless banality of Perfect Day still comes as a shock. After 45 minutes of bullet-from-a-gun beats, trancey synths and inane lyrics about "catching a falling star" and going "just a step too far", it's hard to remember more than two or three moments from this album. 'Runaway' has a decent chorus (in a Vengaboys kind of way); the title track has a neat vocal hook, and 'Could It Be You', the album's one ballad, is a charming throwback to the boyband era, but that's about it.

The Cascada formula works best when they weld their blistering beats to a pop song that's tattooed on our collective psyche. Their thumptastic take on Avril Lavigne's 'Sk8er Boi' is the dance music equivalent of a spam sandwich: cheap, satisfying and in no away exotic, but it's let down by an utterly characterless vocal from Natalie Horler, the voice of Cascada. Though Horler has a pleasant, serviceable pop voice, she rarely attempts to engage with what she's singing. A case in point? Her stage school rendition of Pink's 'Just Like A Pill', which is filled with all the drama and urgency of a filler number from Songs of Praise.

Cascada's target audience might be easy-to-please, pissed-up clubbers, but there's no excuse to foist music this lacking in ambition on anyone. As Booty Luv proved earlier this year, it's possible to make an album for the Jumpin' Jaks brigade that's fun, fizzy and bursting with pop smarts. Music for drunk people? To be honest, only the comatose will be able to get through Perfect Day in one sitting.

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