The Cardigans are back with a new sound – one that is darker and less pop-based than the catchy, overplayed bubble gum hit from 1997, “Love Fool.”
With the release of its fourth album, Gran Turismo (Mercury), The Cardigans seem to be determined to exchange the type-casted, happy-go-lucky sound with one that delves into realms of trip-hop and experimental, purely guitar-driven music. Lead singer Nina Persson’s voice floats above the music, giving a chilling, angelic lift to the band’s otherwise somber sounds. But at times, the album verges on monotonous if not just purely dull music.
The opening track, “Paralyzed,” best displays the band’s attempt at trip. Then a lull of mediocrity sets in during songs such as “Explode,” in which Persson croons the lyrics “explode, implode” over and over again. In the middle of Gran Turismo, “My Favorite Game” perks up the album. As the most recognizable would-be hit from the album, “My Favorite Game” is an obvious choice for the first single. The song boasts a sound resembling the music of Garbage and Lush. The album returns to a slower rhythm and concludes with a soft, instrumental piece called “Nil.”
The Cardigans are known in the music industry for its one hit from the popular Romeo and Juliet soundtrack. However, being known for only one song and one sound limits a band. Repetitious sounds plague Gran Turismo, but The Cardigans deserve a chance to be heard.