Review: “Evacuate The Dancefloor” by Cascada (CD, 2009)

Today’s Pop Rescue from obscurity, is the 2009 third album Evacuate The Dancefloor by German dance act Cascada. Will this album fill a Dancefloor, or should you Evacuate by the nearest exit? Read on…

Cascada - Evacuate The Dancefloor (2009) album
Cascada – Evacuate The Dancefloor (2009) album

The album bursts open with the throbbing synths of lead single and titular track Evacuate The Dancefloor. From the moment that this song arrives, it’s catchy as hell. Natalie Horler‘s vocals are strong and a worthy rival to the fat stabbing synths and thudding bass drums. Carlprit is on rapper duties, and his robotic voice, and later clean rapper vocals give a nice contrast to Natalie’s vocals. It is impossible to not tap a foot or want to sing along to this track. The perfect album opener.

By contrast, Hold On opens with the clicks of drumsticks, before a wave of acoustic guitars usher in this warmer summery song. Natalie’s vocals sound great here, almost a country music-ish Natalie Imbruglia, with a racing drum machine underneath. Suddenly, the track bangs loudly with thudding bass drums and low-register lead synth. At moments it sounds like early Steps meets Basshunter. The result is a track that doesn’t quite sound as strong as the previous song, but it’s still pretty infectious.

Every Time I Hear Your Name is next, and this has some wonderful sounding evolving synth pads that grow in the background. This helps to allow Natalie’s vocals to fly (and they sound fantastic here). The track isn’t quite as hard and thumping as earlier ones, but it still bursts with energy, aided by the tinkling synths help to keep it lighter, as do the scattered percussion and backing vocals.

That’s followed by Ready Or Not, which showcases Natalie’s vocals, before switching to quite an incredibly thumping beat that detracts somewhat from the delicateness of her vocals. The simple repetitive synth leads galloping along make it sound like something from Vengaboys or even a bit childlike like The Smurfs 90’s efforts.

Then it’s time for third UK single, Fever. This has some really nice roaring electric guitar sounding synths. I’m given some Lady Gaga meets Girls Aloud vibes from this track, thanks to the lyrical tone and Natalie’s attitude. The end result is a song that’s actually pretty catchy. The track failed to chart in the UK, but fared better in Germany.

Next up is Hold Your Hands Up, which sees a return to soft acoustic guitars and shuffling beats. Natalie’s vocals sound warm and sincere, mixed with some nice harmonies. The pulsating synths and throbbing beats are missing here, and that’s okay. It’s a contrast to earlier songs, but Natalie’s voice really gets to shine here – in warmth, strength, and range, and she sounds great… just not very Cascada-y.

Breathless is next, and it’s off to quite a Katy Perry start – with candy pop heartbreak lyrics. Natalie delivers these with ease, even as the chorus comes roaring in with heavier drums and guitar-esque sounds. It does feel somewhat like a remake of the many songs of this style that were out at that time, so it’s mostly unremarkable.

That’s followed by second UK single Dangerous, and we’re treated to a piano and Natalie giving us some emphatic vocals. A pulsing synth emerges into a full-on pumping beat, sounding like Step’s One For Sorrow on a faster speed. Again, the simplified stabby synth line is as catchy as it is reminiscent to a Vengaboys sequence. The track could have been much grander without this simple synth line and perhaps a thumping beat and orchestra. The track stalled at #67 in the UK charts.

Then it’s Why You Had To Leave, which is a nice mid-tempo track, that reminds me stylistically slightly of Kylie’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, and vocally as if Sophie Ellis-Bexter could have sung it. Still, Cascada and Natalie make it their own sound, and it’s a nice reflective pop song that would have made a nicer single than Dangerous.

What About Me is next and this bounces quite effortlessly along, fuelled by some wonderfully annoyed vocals from Natalie. The electric guitars thrown in at about 2m 20s adds to the angst, ending with a spoken word moment before the final third shifts a gear and sees Natalie really go for it on the vocal range – which she delivers perfectly.

The album closes with Draw The Line (Yanou’s Candlelight Mix). As with other Yanou Candlelight mixes, this is a slow vocal-leading piano ballad (see also DJ Sammy’s Heaven). This gives Natalie a wonderful showcase for some heartfelt and beautiful vocals which are lifted further as the strings arrive in the mid-section. Natalie continues to lift her vocals in volume and richness as she heads for the big notes. It’s a lovely ending, but jars with the banging tunes before it – still, it’s inclusion is lovely.

Cascada’s lead single ‘Evacuate The Dancefloor’.

Verdict

Over all, this album is a bit of a mixed bag, but when it bangs, it bangs loud.

A stroke of musical snobbery led me to pick this CD up and to add it to the review queue. At the time in the late 00’s my attitude towards Cascada was poor, but realistically, I was getting older and this music felt too loud and simplistic with some cheap session singer over the top.

Realistically though, this album is far more than that and I clearly did it a disservice. What we’ve actually got here are some incredibly catchy euro dance tunes that yes, are pretty damn loud when they get up to full-pelt, but they work so well. Titular single Evacuate The Dancefloor is magnificent, and Everytime I Hear Your Name, Why You Had To Leave, What About Me, all capture and deliver that energy through their synths, thudding drums, and Natalie’s vocals. The beautiful Draw The Line, here treated to Yanou’s guiding hand, really is a treat even if it sits oddly alongside what is mostly a thumping dance album.

There are a few weaker or ten-a-penny tracks here, but none of them are bad. Dangerous was a mis-guided single, as was Fever, and there are some stronger tracks here that would have made for better singles.

So, i’m surprised at this album, and glad to have been so. It’s a thumper, with a few tender moments, and a few middling moments, but over all, a big pot of feel-good dance catchiness.

Rated 4 stars - You're missing a treat!
  • POP RESCUE 2022 RATING: 4 / 5
  • 2009 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: #8, certified Gold by the BPI.
  • POP RESCUE COST: £1.76 from an eBay seller.

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