Do you think The Cardigans should stick to the slightly less than alternative pop they blessed us with in the 90:s? Do you like the heavily produced and electronically flavoured "Gran Turismo"-album, but nothing else in the their back catalogue? Are you in any way a follower of "the less is more when it comes to guitars"-path? Do you hate country? Well, then you can stop reading right now.
"Long Gone Before Daylight" is about guitars. It's about mature songs tinged with country. It's about doing that one album that will attract virtually everyone, even if that means losing some hardcore fans along the road (if an ever-changing band like The Cardigans can have any hardcore fans, that is).
"Long Gone Before Daylight" is all those things and more. It's one hell of an album, if you like mature pop. "Communication", single track "For What It's Worth" and "You're the Storm" shining through in a bundle of songs promising to produce still more favourites in repeated listens. Up-tempo "A Good Horse", with Howlin' Pelle Almquist from The Hives and Nicke from The Hellacopters on backing vocals, promises a lot and so does "Leave and Learn" with Ebbot from Soundtrack of our Lives filling the same function (and with more grace, I might add).
Nina Persson has never sung better, Peter Svensson never written better tunes - The Cardigans have never sounded so damn good. To make things better still, "Long Gone Before Daylight" sounds OK when listened to on any hi fi-set, but reveals new and exciting details when listened to on headphones (REM anyone?). In "Long Gone Before Daylight" you can find nice arrangements, poppy chords, strings, bells - everything to wish for.
So, why the, in this context, low grade? Well, "Long Gone Before Daylight" does tend to get a bit boring. There's no friction, no frustration; only a streamlined perfect production that leaves me wondering how well this album will stand up to the test of time. Is it a classic, to which all future alternative pop releases will be compared? I think not. This is not an alternative release. It sees The Cardigans waving goodbye to a large part of the alternative camp, with Release in the front line, sailing off into the sun(set) of calculated commercialism. I mean, members from The Hives and The Soundtrack of our Lives on backing vocals? How blatantly can you flirt with The World's fling with Swedish rock at the moment and get away with it?
That said, this is a really good album, delivering all that A Camp promised and giving us Europeans yet another reason to buy good Americana sprung from the European soil.
Goodbye Cardigans, it was nice to have you with us.