Sweden’s coolest pop export

Cardigans_long_gone
Cooler than an ice hotel, The Cardigans are the best thing to come out of Sweden since IKEA meatballs.
Scandinavian indie queen Nina Persson and, er, some dodgy looking blokes who stand in the background, shot to fame with the quirky lounge-pop of Lovefool and then turned the (pine) tables with Gran Turismo – an album of edgy guitar rock with a slight electro feel.

While we’d seriously recommend the band’s current offering – the awesome Super Extra Gravity – here at PopJunkie we can’t get enough of the band’s tear-jerking 2003 masterpiece, Long Gone Before Daylight.  If you’ve been dumped in the run-up to Christmas, chuck away your Coldplay albums and lose yourself in this gem of an album, instead.  Forget Chris Martin’s meaningless ‘June, moon, spoon’ proclamations and let Nina soothe your soul.

The Cardigans asked some Swedish mates to help them record this album like Howlin’ Pelle Almquist, the front man of The Hives, Ebbot Lundberg of Soundtrack Of Our Lives, and Nicke Royale, of The Hellacopters, but, surprisingly, it’s not a collection of (meat) balls-out rock – it’s actually The Cardigans’ most melancholy, personal and affecting album.

Less commercial than Nina and co’s other releases, Long Gone… is very much the sound of a band playing live in the studio, eschewing technological trickery for old fashioned instrumentation. It’s out with the drum loops and in with warm Hammond organ, strings and tinkly piano.

Lush opening ballad, Communication, is the sort of song that gives Natalie Imbruglia sleepless nights. Much of Long Gone has a 70’s AOR feel, which is fine by us – rocker Good Horse owes a huge debt to Fleetwood Mac, in particular Stevie Nicks, as does the desperately sad And Then You Kissed Me (“You hit me really hard – you hit me right in the heart.’)

I first heard the exquisite country pop of You’re The Storm while I was on a Spanish holiday two years ago. It was playing from a cheap radio whilst my girlfriend (now my ex) were driving along the deserted Costa Brava coastline.The skies were grey and…… oh, jeez, can we just skip to the next track? Oh, shit, it’s Couldn’t Care Less (“My heart can’t carry much more – it’s really, really aching and sore.”)

Maybe we’re better off listening to the great first single, For What It’s Worth. Over an intricate backing of harmonica, electric piano and jangly guitars, Nina pleads for her recently departed lover to return to her bed.   (By the way, Nina, he’s not worth it.  What you really need in your life is a 30 something PopJunkie editor)

With the coldest winter since 1963 just around the corner, we recommend that you wrap yourself up in a cardigan, stick Long Gone…. on the stereo and hibernate until spring. If this album doesn’t break your heart, then it must be made of ice.

The Cardigans – Long Gone Before Daylight 2003 (Koch)

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4 Responses to “Sweden’s coolest pop export”

  1. johnny Says:

    make sure you check out Nina’s solo “A Camp” CD, too – it came right before this and sort of pointed to the direction this Cardigans release would go.

  2. Rich Says:

    You’re the storm is one of the best songs of the last 20 years – amazing. Great album, but new one is even better.

  3. thur Says:

    … and make sure you’ll listen to Swedish band Eggstone (founders of Tambourine Studios, the singer produced ‘Long Before Daylight’, and big favourites of The Cardigans), as well:

    http://eggstone.pfwh.net

  4. Jonathan Says:

    Ah, the good old days before “My Favourite Game” made them become painfully overplayed!

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