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The Cardigans


Country of origin:

Sweden

Type of music generally:

pop/rock

Status:

Most recent release, Best Of (compilation, 2008); Super Extra Gravity (2005 Europe, 2006 U.S.)

See also:

The Cardigans' Official Site

Comparisons:

Stina Nordenstam/The Smiths/Pizzicato Five

Covers/own material:

Own and covers

General comments:

Stina Nordenstam fronts The Smiths. With a bit of Pizzicato Five PoMo playfulness. One of the best of the recent spate of Pop/Jazz/Rock chimerae. Nina, the vocalist of this Swedish? five piece, is a member of the Blossom-Dearie-by-way-of-Björk school of singing and at times is uncannily like Stina.
     They have in common (besides the Nordic diction) the breathy, flutelike voice that seems to gather all its tone from the throat and head and eschew the diaphragm entirely: the style usually associated with Marilyn Monroe. This voice, with this accent, and the light, crystalline hi-hat-driven sound of the band, creates the effect of music carried to the listener through icy mountain air on a brilliantly sunny winter morning. (lissener@wwa.com)

As far as the Cardigans, I wouldn't call them "bubble gum" or overly happy. Both of their recent CDs [First Band on the Moon and Gran Turismo] are in my top 10 of this year. The new Cardigans [Gran Turismo] is much, much darker than their previous output. But even the earlier stuff that sounds happy and bouncy on the surface is actually much less cheery when you actually listen to the lyrics. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

Comments about live performance:

You know, this is a classy pop act. Definitely the least appreciated of the bands playing, possibly because they were the most unlike the others. They were polished and lots of fun. I enjoyed them live more than the album because they had more bite. Plus they opened with my fave song of theirs, "Losers." (colford@chlotrudis.org)

Aside from the radio hits, I found their Lilith Fair set to be largely forgettable. (kamesan@geocities.com)

Okay. Other than "Lovefool" and "Been it", their two radio hits, though, I couldn't get into their Lilith Fair set. (miazgama@pilot.msu.edu)

Recommended first album:

Life or Gran Turismo

Recordings:


Life

Release info:

1995—Minty Fresh

Availability:

In places that carry indie releases in the U.S.

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Lasse Johansson—guitar, piano
Nina Persson—vocals
Magnus Sveningsson—bass
Peter Svensson—bass, bells, guitar, percussion, piano, vibraphone, vocals

Guest artists:

Ivan Bakran—cello
Asa Hakansson—violin
Tore Johansson—trumpet
Peter Lindgard—trumpet
Anders Nordgren—flute

Comments:

Their style is perfectly conveyed by the cover art, which depicts Nina, platinum hair peeking from beneath the white fur hat-trim, eyelashes like garden rakes, powdered cheek carefully not touching her clasped hands, lying prone on the fake ice, posing at us; the elbows of her white-fur-trimmed, ice-blue skating dress lightly dusted with fake snow, her white skate boots waving girlishly and girlishly crossed at the ankles, her dairy-princess skin and grandma's-little-girl smile aglow.
     The original songs are all very strong, and none is over-serious or self-righteously heavy. Lyrics are not included, but those I've caught so far seem realistic and clearheaded—"and you can always say that you did no major harm"—and in none of the songs have they bitten off more than they could chew, that most common of songwriters' weaknesses.
     The apparent giddy prankishness of their choice for the obligatory cover song, 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath', pays off. It survives intact but barely recognizable, its lyrics, when exposed in the snowy glare of the Midnight Sun, revealed as silly and anything-but-ominous. (lissener@wwa.com)

First Band on the Moon

Release info:

1996—Polygram

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended if you like their other albums

Group members:

Lasse Johansson—guitar, piano
Nina Persson—vocals
Magnus Sveningsson—bass
Peter Svensson—bass, guitar, percussion, piano, vocals

Guest artists:

Ivan Bakran—cello, double bass
Patrik Bartosch—clavinet
Anna Berstrom—violin
Asa Hakansson—violin
Annette Helmers—cello
Peter Lindgard—trumpet
David Wilczewski—flute
Inga Zeppezauer—violin

Produced by:

Tore Johansson

Comments:

One of my top ten of the year. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

Not as good as Life. (iflin@speakeasy.net)


Gran Turismo

Release info:

1998—Polygram

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Steve Cameron—vocals
Robert Jelinek—vocals
Lasse Johansson—acoustic guitar, keyboards
Nina Persson—vocals
Magnus Sveningsson—bass
Peter Svensson—guitar

Produced by:

Tore Johansson

Comments:

VERY good. One of my favorite CDs from that year. Their new single is incredible ("my favourite game") and the CD is totally not what you'd expect after hearing "Love fool" and the rest of the first album. They are gravitating toward more of a "garbage-ish" sound... very lush sounding, they've got some elements of electronica in there... it's just a REALLY good cd... :). (Songbird22@aol.com)

One of my top ten of the year. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)


Long Gone Before Daylight

Release info:

2003—Koch

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Nina Persson—vocals
Peter Svensson—guitar
Lars-Olof Johansson—keyboards
Magnus Sveningsson—bass
Bengt Lagerberg—drums

Guest artists:

Per Sunding—backing vocals

Produced by:

Per Sunding, The Cardigans

Comments:

I've never listened to a Cardigans album before, that Romeo and Juliet song (Lovefool?) was too prominent and annoying! Even though I enjoyed the other songs I've heard, I could never figure out what kind of band they were, and didn't get around to finding out for myself.
     The ballads on this are gorgeous, particularly the first two tracks: 'Communication' and 'You're the storm'. Odd way to start an album—it creeps in. Both those tracks have guitar interludes that belong to other songs and genres entirely! Grrr. The rocking songs are great: 'A good horse', and 'Live and learn' are my favs of those, and 'For what it's worth' is a catchy toe-tapping mid-tempo number.
     The lyrics can be a bit clunky and there are some clichés, but it doesn'treally matter. Actually, just checking back, the phrases that annoyed me first few listens work fine now.
     Will have to check out their other lps, dammit. (k_hester_k@yahoo.co.nz)

I really do like the new Cardigans album—it has totally grown on me. (iflin@speakeasy.net)


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Entry last updated 2013-12-18 19:59:14.
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