Cardigans : Long Gone Before Daylight

This is an album powered by its own radiance

Reviving the career of Tom Jones with a song whose video featured a large amount of the colour orange! Soundtracking Leonardo DiCaprio when he became boring! Making solo albums of interest to approximately three people, including oneself! For these heinous acts and various others, it may be hard to forgive the cast of The Cardigans.

For Nina and co it may of slightly more concern that it’s been suspiciously easy for us to forget The Cardigans, too. It’s been almost half an S Club Junior’s life since The Cardigans‘ last album. Some of this time has been consumed with recording – then rewinding and erasing – a successor to ‘Gran Turismo’, then starting work all over again on a new album entirely. These things happen, of course. But if we’re honest with ourselves the threat of a new Cardigans opus has hardly had the world on the edge of its collective record-buying seat. Even tales of an all-encompassing Swedish new rock supergroup – Pelle from The Hives, Ebbot from Soundtrack Of Our Lives and Nick Hellacopter join the cast at various points across the album – has had difficulty raising a solitary eyebrow. And if you can say anything for The Cardigans, it’s that they’re good at eyebrows.

As it happens, while there’s not much here of the flog-it-to-a-car-ad variety, ‘Long Gone Before Daylight’ is the band’s best album yet – which is to say that it contains considerably more than three good songs. Where the cold production wedges of ‘Gran Turismo’ were distant and aloof to the point where they ignored the songs themselves, the flourishes here are sparse enough to let them bloom. Best of the bunch are country-tinged opener ‘Communication’ and the Spector-referencing ‘And Then You Kissed Me’; heartbreaking pop with an unstable psyche and a fresh, naked charm. And those guest stars? They’re not even important. This is an album powered by its own radiance – like a solar-powered torch stringed up to a pair of mirrors, driving itself on forever, and still going strong, even by daylight.

Peter Robinson