Dakh Daughters — Air (2019)

I breathe, and you breathe
We both breathe the air
"Що ти собі думаєш?"
("What are you thinking of?")

Very little news has been heard about Dakh Daughters over recent years. They don`t comment on political events, don`t post photo shoots neither they do participate in selection for Eurovision, as ЦеШо (TseSho), the newest project of Vlad Troitsky.

The last music video they shot, "Людина" ("Human"), was premiered long two years from now. They made few exceptions by shooting in two films: "Рози" ("Roses)", the documentary about the band and the comedy film "Гуцулка Ксеня" ("Hutsulka Kseniya"), which premiered on March 7th. Except for that, band`s creative activity turns out to be either not only about Ukraine, or not only about music, as their first US tour in January 2019 or the large cabaret-circus program for Europe named Terabak de Kiev. So you know, Dakh Daughters is not your typical music band.

There is nothing new here. Prior to releasing their first album "If" (2016), they directly stated that their music is inseparable from the theatrical performance, which means there will be no official albums. Then something went wrong, and now we are listening to their second official release, which goes by the name "Air".

One thing here confuses instantly: on the previous record we witnessed their unique theatrical vibe and genre-shifting approach, but now it looks like we`re dealing with a full-fledged musical product. Simply put, instead of theatrical plays now we get solid songs with subtle theatrical echoes.

Once again Dakh Daughters begin their musical journey on a gloomy note with soft opener track "Інше Місто" ("Other City"), but, unlike the previous release, ​​which is rather diverse in emotions, this one floats in darkness from beginning to end. Either you take the opening track, which is apparently referring to touring everyday routine, or a mechanically monotonous love song "О, панно Інно" ("Oh, Lady Inna") with lyrics by Pavlo Tychyna, or very suggestive tracks "Японське кіно", "М'яч" і "Панночка" ("Japanese Cinema", "Ball" and "Little Lady") – each one gives you a clear feeling that something creepy is going on. I can`t say that sound of Dakh Daughters has changed a lot, but it surely became as close as possible to the disturbing song "Візьми" ("Take") from the previous release.

The only emotionaly upbeat spot you can find here is a banger "Що ти собі думаєш?" ("What are you thinking of?"), clearly intended to lighten up your mood after a 14-minute epic track with ethnic vocals, as dark as Michael Gira's soul. Strange thing is, this humongous song with equally long name "Пісня про те, як вона виходить на крутую гору" ("A song about how she goes on a steep hill") on which Nina Garenetska sings, is much more reminiscent of the Russian project Theodor Bastard, than of DakhaBrakha, especially in the first half.

Still, the most pleasing part here is the songwriting work. Maybe they let their many-faced carnival side, one that gave Dakh Daughters initial popularity back in the days of the "Рози/Донбас" ("Roses/Donbass") step aside, but the message that girls carry to us is becoming more and more distinct. Despite all the emotional gloominess, the main idea of "Air" is kind and positive. It`s concisely expressed in the lyric line, rendered in the epigraph: “I breathe, you breathe, we all breathe the air”. We all have pretty much in common, so we always can find a reason to love each other rather than hate. If this is realy what they try to say, then I`d certainly love to agree with them.

With their second album, Dakh Daughters showed us that not only can they move across the world as a touring musical unit, but also capable of transiting from one artistic shape to another. It doesn`t seem that they`re going to stop here, so we still have to see further changes soon enough. But will these changes be fulfilling? I don’t know about you, but I`m sure that the girls won’t let us down next time either.

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1. Inshe misto
2. Yaponske kino
3. O, panno Inno
4. Pisnia pro te, yak vona vyhodyt` na krutuiu horu
5. Shcho ty sobi dumaiesh?
6. Pannochka
7. M`yach