Overall I think this is an album to listen to when you've had your heart broken...
Lucy Davies 2003
Nina Persson is very sad. She must be, because on Long Gone Before Daylight she's written 11 (13 if you've got the bonus tracks) of the most melancholy songs ever penned by a Cardigan. And it's a real shame.
To map The Cardigans route to success, they appeared in the early 90s from the Swedish fringes. They had their own quirky take on modern life, like being too dopey in the morning to remember where you've put your mug of coffee, and how this affects your whole day. Their notable ability to find the perfect place for a bassoon solo also made them stand out from the crowd.
Then they accidentally wrote one of the catchiest tunes in rock, "Lovefool", which, with its blend of ironic humour and desperation, landed them in the spotlight. Getting a taste for this commercial success, they went on to produce the poppy, rocky Gran Turismo which brought us that twanging guitar riff, in "Favourite Game", and stories of defiant mind changing.
If Long Gone Before Daylight demonstrates the Cardigans wanting to become more mainstream and commercial, it's not a good thing. Whilst the first two tracks are pretty upbeat, the lyrics throughout are not. The timely "You're The Storm" has Nina talking of being a country that needs conquering. Promising, perhaps, if not a little clichéd, but once the production has thinned out any kind of drama or aggression that could have existed in the chorus, it becomes a damp squib.
There are some lovely moments of instrumentation, like the opening fairground organ of "And Then You Kissed Me", and when Nina sings 'You hit me, really hard' you can feel it.
"Feathers And Down" is also a really well crafted and quite gorgeous song, but overall I think this is an album to listen to when you've had your heart broken. Otherwise, the poor me-ness of the situation can be a bit too much to bear. Perhaps I'm being mean, but a stronger range of emotions could have produced a wider range of dynamics and instrumentation. The Cardigans do hurt very well, but they can also do joy, anger and sarcasm. And I miss them.