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Customer Review

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Album Yet.. Colonia is a gem., 22 Jan. 2009
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This review is from: Colonia (Audio CD)
Cardigans singer and band, inhabit a strange world of magical realism, vintage New York and ABBA, making COLONIA her best album yet.

A CAMP

Colonia

REVEAL RECORDS

Nina Persson, to many of us, will always be the sweetly icy blonde from Swedish indie darlings The Cardigans, singing skewed pop songs about Lovefools and Favourite Games. A Camp is her side-project with fellow countryman Niclas Frisk, a friend who, like her, secretly loved classic American songs. Their 2001 self-titled debut album came dappled with Deep South sunshine, but their 2009 follow-up is another creature entirely. Absurdly ambitious and glamorous, it travels from Victorian Manhattan to the 1970s Bowery, across continental roadtrips and through mystical landscapes, and takes radio-friendly sounds into bold, new dimensions.

Although this record is instantly catchy, it's also mesmerically odd. Its far-reaching intentions are clear from the opening track, a colossal, silvery epic called The Crowning. A tinkling piano summons the `perfect pop' of The Carpenters' Close To You and the shimmer of Phil Spector; Persson brings us into a room brightened with flowers in rose and maroon where fires are lit and swines are seasoned, and then, out of nowhere, curtains open, and someone's bloody head is born. It's both alarming and rather sublime, and the chorus captures the glitz and melancholy of ABBA's best ballads; here's art and pop making strange and seductive new bedfellows.

But while Colonia is all about grand expressions of emotion, it rarely crosses over into extravagance or, indeed, camp. Persson's voice is the key to this magic. There is a delicate resignation in that line "luck can do you like a shotgun", in Stronger Than Jesus, a paean to the broken woman. And there's the smallest hint of vulnerability when she tells us It's Not Easy To Be Human, adding a touch of warmth to the wild, icy string accompaniment. On I Signed The Line, a wry meditation on broken marriage set to an incongrously bouncy organ, her rounded notes give these clashing worlds a real sense of togetherness.

The most immediate moment here is My America, a song full of powerful metaphors about a cold-hearted world and a starstruck inhabitant who is "yours to knock around". Full of clout that recalls the voice of Jenny Lewis at its best, this is the huge, brilliant single that Rilo Kiley never made. For what A Camp have - and what Rilo Kiley lost, all too quickly - is reserves of imagination. Bear On The Beach talks of Iris climbing a ladder to the sky: you'll think of Kate Bush and Bjork, and how their bizarre brand of magical realism turns feelings into things, bold and breathing. When you hear how A Camp treat the simple idea behind Love Has Left The Room, you'll just want to chase love and bring it back. This record, all about humanity, is just a little bit superhuman. JUDE ROGERS WORD FEB 09
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Initial post: 21 Jan 2010 22:07:24 GMT
Timbo says:
Enjoyable, inspiring review. Thanks!
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