1 December 2013

The Cardigans - Gran Turismo

Wow. This album is really depressing. But in a good way. Whilst not as depressing as, say, The Holy Bible or World Coming Down, it's certainly not the most cheeriest slice of music ever released. The cover gives the impression that it was recorded during one of those famous Scandinavian winters. The ones where it's dark for six months but also where the sun just hangs really low in the sky and doesn't actually go down. With circumstances like that, it's no wonder they're all depressed. It's probably why the Vikings conquored the UK, so they could go somewhere which was also bloody cold but had decent daylight hours.

Released in 1998, it marked the end of a two year hiatus for the band. From what I remember, these guys were everywhere at one point, thanks to the single ':Lovefool' which was included in the movie adaptation "Romeo & Juliet" (The one where it's filmed and set in 90's Venice Beach CA but everyone is talking original Shakespeare script. It's a good movie, to be fair). That song was a nice, jaunty little number which frankly - to quote 'Blackadder' - would be as out of place on this album as a giraffe in dark sunglasses trying to get into a polar bear's only party.

The album is very electronically influenced as well, hence the tags. Makes good use of the 'trip hop' influence. Shame that that particular genre only lasted about five minutes. The vocals are handled by Nina Persson and are quite luscious and certainly complement the music, which while sounding like a total dirge (albeit a tuneful dirge), certainly lend a soulful quality to them (It was also said by someone who looks and sounds like me that she had the perfect mouth for other endeavours but we'll leave that alone. Oh, Mercy!). The title of the album was picked as a way to describe equating music to travelling, or tourism even. Nothing to do with the popular Playstation driving game franchise in which the song 'My Favourite Game' makes an appearance. Mind, that very song is possibly the album highlight as well as 'Erase & Rewind' and 'Do You Believe'. The latter being a song that Deftones would cover as a bonus track on their album 'Diamond Eyes'. An honorary shout-out - or more like whisper, given the general tone of the album - goes to 'Explode', which sounds like the musical equivalent of crystal. Fragile, yet beautiful. See? Who says a guy whose fave movie is 'Cannibal Holocaust' sound classy?

As mentioned, the music is very electronic but it's certainly well done. A lot of thought certainly went into the arrangements and it wasn't thrown together at the last minute. Production is very crisp and clear, which only highlights the music instead of swamping it.

Whilst it's certainly a decent album, I'd make sure to listen to it a few times before making a purchasing decision. It takes a few listens to get into but it's worth it.

7 Out of ten - This is good and well worth a check.

Chris J.

You can get this album on iTunes.

Buy it on Amazon
Listen on Spotify

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