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Dogsmile (Sweden) – The promised land (re-worked single from the EP Sparks from the Fire)

I’ll be straight about this. Sometimes a band’s name puts me off. That’s the case with UK bands and artists The Lovely Eggs, Beans on Toast and Pigs x7. Just too much breakfast, man. Those names just don’t do it for me. Same with Dogsmile, which it isn’t hard to mis-read as Dogsbreath at a glance, is it? Or even something worse. (No offence, guys!)

And that’s probably why I hadn’t paid them much attention in the past. But they certainly do deserve attention, as this reworked track, ‘The Promised Land’ from their EP, ‘Sparks From the Fire’, released a couple of months ago, proves. Moreover, they’ve been around a long time.

Dogsmile emerged out of a post-punk band called Camouflage which was forced to rename itself as there’s a German band by that name, and reformed with additional members to a total of six in all, with different musical backgrounds.

There’ was a strong essence of The Cure about what Camouflage did and you can still hear it, to a lesser degree, on this track. The vocalist, Ingemar Karlsson, is almost as morose as Robert Smith.

And yet at the same time it develops a little atmosphere of its own, especially in the opening piano bars. If you’ve ever seen any of the Christmas Specials that the writers of the obscure, dark 1990s UK TV series The League of Gentlemen produced then you’ll recognise it as being appropriate to them. Ethereal and suggestive, without putting the wind up you completely.

As it progresses it develops into a minor anthem. But again, a shadowy, sinister one. It could be an anthem for a failed latter-day state, another promised land that turned out to be anything but. The USA? Just thinking out loud.

They are probably going to be an ‘acquired taste’ to many listeners, but then again, so were – and are – The Cure.

Dogsmile are:

Ingemar K – Guitar, vocals

Tinna J – Guitar, vocals

Elisabeth J K – Bass

Ingvar L – Keyboards

Tommy D – Drums

Anders P – Guitar

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