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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Cardigans
Long Gone Before Daylight
Stockholm/Koch Records

Rating: 6/10 ?


October 1, 2004
I've got to hand it to the Cardigans; they have a lot of people fooled. Beginning with the bleak yet precious Emmerdale, they rolled right into the cheerily tongue-in-cheek masterpiece, Life, and pegged themselves as a chipper pop outfit. Then came the hit-spawning First Band on the Moon, which launched their infectious carelessness into the public eye. This was followed by the technical, precise Gran Turismo, which arrived at a fairly unreceptive time, but allowed them to return to making music for themselves. They always did things their own way, mind you, but it is from this juncture, free of Buzz Bin rotation, they can be as creative as they truly desire.

That said, they will probably, to the world-at-large, remain more known for "Lovefool" than their unabashed love of Black Sabbath, but those who have stuck with the band know that beneath their whimsical fašade lurks a penchant for darkness. Long Gone Before Daylight indulges all of those tendencies without pretense, letting them speak wholly for themselves.

Despite the honesty brought from this bleak shift, the move quite frankly sets the group back. Lyric writing and song structure remain at the top of their game, but the Cardigans no longer feel subversive. They lay it on the line without irony, and while the experience is definitely more mature, it is also a bit boring.

Long Gone Before Daylight sounds like an average adult contemporary album. As I associate the band with shine, humor and barbed intelligence, this is a little disappointing. Elements of Poe, Natalie Merchant, Aimee Mann and Sheryl Crow creep in to Nina Persson's repertoire, taking away from some of what made her so original.

From there, many of the songs sound so similar; it is hard to distinguish between them when giving the album a full run-through. There are no real stand-out tracks, only moments throughout. The songs are meandering, biding their time and, at their worst, inspiring impatience.

To their favor, however, the arrangements are more lush and organic than ever, with great class and a sweet, enveloping charm. Persson's melancholia also sounds more ardent, more harrowing, when worn plainly on her sleeve as it is here. While in a fairly conventional format, these are her torch songs, marked by passionate pain.

It's genuinely disheartening, then, that their most brutally honest album comes off as the most insincere because of its format. It is a truly naked release, but is hampered by its overly comfortable approach. One must get past the humdrum sameness of the MOR format to fully enjoy the pointed lyrics and winning scenery. Personally, this is a difficult task, but I'd like to think that given repeat listens, the effort proves itself worthwhile.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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