IE— irst band
The Cardigans: natural born pop thrillers or Satan’s slaves? Fiona Shepherd weighs up the evidence.
l—lallelujah for finding a watertight formula and
with First Band ()n The Moon. their second LP release in this country. their fourth in their native Sweden. but ifthey have moved on. it‘s from the opening credits of Modesty Blaise to. ooh. the third scene or thereabouts.
See. nobody does the chic ()(ls schtick better than
fortnight) do have distinctive retro film soundtrack of Laetitia Sadier. but there‘s something very
tempers the ba-ba-ba harmonies. However. as if it were not enough to ﬂaunt honey-
double-agent in some wintry espionage flick. The Cardigans are utterly unconcerned by what anyone might make of their sugary pastiche pop. They‘ll write choruses consisting of ‘la la las' till the spy comes in from the cold. the eagle lands and the last Parisian tangoes. and to prove it. they'll make it the
sticking to it. They said The Cardigans had moved on
The Cardigans. Nobody. Stereolab (also playing this elements infused with bona fide Gallic cool courtesy academic about their hypnotic Moog drone trips that
tonsilled singer Nina Persson. who looks like she was born to play the part of the enigmatic East European
first track on the album. There it is. ‘Your New Cuckoo'. a sleek revisiting of the same lyrical territory as Alanis Morissette‘s ‘You ()ughtta Know'. which is more supercool put-down than temper tantrum. Subtlety beyond La Morissette‘s urn-dram
As The Cardigans' honeymoon period ends and they have to get down to the business of proving they‘re not a cheesy novelty one-off. they‘ve stuck to their guns. To the many detractors who cannot stomach The Cardigans' ‘some tea with your sugar." approach to pop music. they continue to be an irritatineg twee presence. All this lyrical nonsense about garden parties and airborne automobiles doesn't help either. But for the fans. it‘s the self-same reasons that make them the perfect purest pop group.
Their music has such a natural insouciance that they could probably have found a place in the hit parade at any time during the last 30 years or so. but the resurgence ofeasy listening and its reputation as more than cheese for mock cocktail parties has probably helped too. Dusty Springfield. Glen Campbell — hell. even Andy Williams — would love to sing a Cardigans song. And if The Cardigans were to return the favour. who would be their crooner of choice? Why. Ozzy Osbourne. obviously.
I A i
The Cardigans, lust beiore a bizarre, Satanic bat-munching ritual
in what could be a bizarre parody of Scandinavia‘s heavy duty courting of heavy metal mores — death metal bands really do invoke Satan. eat live chickens and carry out acts of human sacrifice and ritual murder (usually on other death metal bands) — The Cardigans have covered Ozzy's ‘lron Man‘. But surely there isn‘t one iota of irony in the worldview of a band who. in the post- post- post-ironic 90s are still happy to name themselves after the girliest of garments? Must be a genuine homage to the old bat-
Either way. you have got to hear Nina's breathy ‘Heavy boots of lead/Fills his victims full of dread‘ and swoonsorne ‘oh. lron Man/Ba ba ba-da' (a variation on a theme. that last bit). Whatever next? lit] a firestarterfTwisted firestaner/Do-be-do-be- do"? Sepultura given the loungecore treatment?
Perhaps it‘s just a demonstration that no matter how hard you are. you never know when you could be Cardigan‘d. Sceptics stand by for an opportunity when the group stop for rocket-fuel in Glasgow, which for some reason they think is part oftheir ‘First Tour On The Moon‘. Those crazy Swedes! Will you tell them or shall I?
The Cardigans play The Arc/res, Glasgow on Sat I6
‘ . “ “‘ ’ ’ fl fut; .g‘ 1'6.
ramm- The Great British Symphony
It may usually be the word ‘breakiast’ that comes to mind when talking about the Great British . . . , but iorget that and go ior iood tor the soul in the ‘Great British Symphony’. A series promoted by one Radio Scotland to celebrate British symphonies written this century, it covers the old - Elgar’s Symphony No 1 brings the series to a close - and the new - the world premiere oi navid Dorward’s Symphony lie 2 happens in March. In between comes
.. , . . i Thomas Wilson: laying the notes in lite’s rich tapestry
the 70th birthday oi leading Scottish composer, Thomas Wilson, whose Symphony No 4 is heard alongside Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia an A Theme 0! Thomas Tallis.
Written in 1988 and subtitled Passeleih Tapestry, the symphony was written ior the 500th anniversary oi Paisley as a Burgh oi Barony, ‘Passeleth’ being the 12th century ionn oi the town’s name. ‘lt’s a kind oi review oi the ups and downs oi Paisley irom earliest times to present day,’ explains Thomas Wilson. ‘It’s not a picture postcard about Paisley, but it does make use oi certain characteristics oi, ior instance, the Abbey and 19th and 20th century history oi the town. The challenge is to weld all this into a uniiied iramework.’ Forming the basis oi the piece are the notes A-E ilat-E-B ilat, which are derived irom the name Paisley, the Abbey and the Stewarts,
the Royal dynasty with which Paisley and the Abbey are very closely associated.
Although new symphonic writing is hardly littering contemporary British concert programmes, it may be because composers - possibly because oi iunding and its sources - are not given the chance to write large scale works. ‘I think composers write what they want to write and what they are given the opportunity to write’, says Wilson, ‘and in my case I must coniess to have been pretty Iucky.’ lie continues, ‘Attitudes are changing and the whole thing is evolving. The symphony doesn’t have to be in iour movements. The thing that counts is developing an organic process.’ (Carol Main)
88!: Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Studio tine Invitation Concert, Concert Hall, Broadcasting Ilouse, Glasgow, Wed 20 Ilo v.
The List 15-28 Nov 1996 43