Monday, April 17, 2006Super Extra Cardigans
The Cardigans have been around since forever. Six albums, two songs which the world seems to know, and what else, you might ask? I interviewed their singer, Nina Persson, on Thursday for Wears The Trousers and we talked at length about the expectations on them to repeat the commercial success of Lovefool or the following album, Gran Turismo. The subsequent albums, Long Gone Before Daylight (2003) and Super Extra Gravity (2005) are far better albums, a band at their song-writing peak 5 and 6 albums into their career, albeit without the same level of sales as their third and fourth albums. Bands don't really get the chance to be in their position now - if success doesn't come instantly, then the record companies lose interest and invest less money in future marketing and promo campaigns and the opportunities for bands to have a career and to develop. She was careful to emphasise the luxury of their situation - a dependable core-fanbase, as they have gathered, means that their recording and touring pressures/commitments are not so much defined by the marketing workings and timings of their record company, but rather by their own agenda. A luxury indeed.
Regardless of such (perhaps irrelevant) questions, the Cardigans are still a great band. Their live set at Postbahnhof in Berlin last week was drawn almost exclusively from the latest two albums. If most other bands who missed out their biggest single they would leave people disappointed, but the strength of the more recent material certainly sufficed. I'd gone into the interview with in a slightly sympathetic and curious mindset, and after the concert I felt assured that they are a band that couldn't be happier with where they are. In fact, I've never seen such a (civilised) rapturous reception - the audience (mostly men 28-38) applaused the band for an oddly long time after each song. Something the band must be accustomed to, as there was a second encore pencilled onto the setlist anyway. Cardigans fans need not worry about the future of the band - Nina told me they are already starting to think about their next album and the myriad of possible directions and influences that it could take. Like fine wines, some bands just get better in every way with age.