Friday, February 06, 2009

One album, two possibilities - and it fails on both counts.

I doubt that I would have bothered to try to drive through the snow in order to get to work today were it not that this album was in the CD autochanger. If it had been indoors I would have just stayed at home instead (like, as it turned out, almost everybody else). It took me so long to get to work that I was actually able to listen to it once-and-a-half-times and, at over 43 minutes, it is not short. It is my first received album release of 2009 and so it is obviously my favourite, but I think it likely to remain one and if the rest come up to this standard then it is going to be a year to remember.

An album with such ambitious intent could quite easily have become arch and pretentious or, on the other hand, just another formulaic indie-pop-rock cross-over. I think it does neither hence the title of the post - the music and lyrics are both very strong throughout but, ultimately, it is the singer that makes the song and sometimes so much more than that which is merely written.

Nina Persson demonstrates that facility in spades.

It is very different to the music she made with 'The Cardigans' or indeed her duet with Sir Tom Jones - a cover of 'The White Stripes' Burning Down The House. She also duets on Your Love Alone Is Not Enough with the 'Manic Street Preachers' and that appeared on the Manic Street Preachers' album Send Away The Tigers (2007).
I've listened to Colonia twice more at home this evening. The best general description I can muster is that it is equally comforting and disturbing and I'm certainly not getting bored of it. As for my favourite tracks that is truly no easier to say than after the first time I listened to it. That is the sign of a really good album - if you want three then try these:
  • The Crowning
  • Love Has Left The Room
  • My America
The achievement no less remarkable is this: it is never obvious just what an incredible tightrope this album actually treads. It involves both Nathan Larson, her husband who is better known for film music and it shows to great effect, and fellow Swede Niklas Fisk. Joan Wasser (Antony and the Johnsons and, perhaps more importantly, Joan As Policewoman) also provides violin and viola.

Just buy it!

In Europe, except Scandinavia, it is released on CD by
Reveal Records (REVEAL 50), the inlay booklet contains all the lyrics and this album will also be available on vinyl. In the US it currently only available on import, handled by 101 Distribution, but available from at a price.

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