Album review

The Cardigans :
Long Gone Before Daylight

Stockholm Records

The Cardigans : Long Gone Before DaylightY'know, there are some albums I know I'm going to hate before I even listen to them. Not very impartial I know, but bar the odd single - My Favourite Game and Erase/Rewind to name but two - I've never had much time for The Cardigans. Add to my already biased opinion the protracted gap between this and 1998's Grand Turismo, and guitarist Peter Svensson's recent egotistical comments - "It's an important album in times like this when 'real albums' are rare." - and I had in my hands a hatchet-job waiting to happen. Imagine my disappointment when it turned out that Long Gone Before Daylight was . . . and it pains me to say it . . . really quite good.

It's not like any of this is breaking new ground; pretty much the whole CD is of a similar nature to the glossy pop of lead single For What It's Worth. There's no attempt to recreate the pseudo-Garbage of My Favourite Game or, thankfully, the teeth-gritting tweeness of Lovefool.
    Probably the biggest leap from the formula is the Sheryl Crow crossed with The Bangles stomp of A Good Horse. The Hellacopters' Nick Royale and The Hives' Howlin' Pelle Almqvist guest, and it's possibly their influence that causes The Cardigans to turn up the guitar. The only other time it happens is on the penultimate Feathers And Down, which is an average track made good by a storming lead break towards the end.
    Where Long Gone Before Daylight really works is on the afore-mentioned 'glossy pop' of tracks like For What It's Worth, You're The Storm and Live And Learn. Nina Persson's wonderfully breathy vocals are highlighted by a sympathetic production which makes this disc a pleasure to listen to, and at no point do these songs sound forced - The Cardigans have been doing this long enough to know how to work within their limitations.

In Long Gone Before Daylight, The Cardigans may not have produced an 'important album'. They may not even have managed a relevant album - let's face it, in a world of Junior Senior and Hot Hot Heat, this CD is likely to fall between the cracks. What the band have managed to put out is a good album and, as always, that's good enough for me.

:: Rowan Shaeffer

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