The Cardigans released Super Extra Gravity in 2005 after Long Gone Before Daylight in 2003, which didn't make a significant splash (it's currently a 63 at metacritic.com- fairly meh territory). You can get Super Extra Gravity by itself or with an extra DVD (actually this version was cheaper in the shop where I bought it), which does not contain much: some interesting interviews but not much else (the bit where each Cardigan describes his/her weapons of choice can get a little boring -Nina explaining that she uses lots of different microphones that sound more or less the same, or Bengt's mild attempts at hilarity can get old pretty quickly), although it occasionally offers some insight on the inner workings of the band.
Anyway. For this album, they went back to their usual producer, Tore Johansson, which apparently didn't like Long Gone Before Daylight very much. The band's lineup is the same as ever, Nina singing and writing lyrics (with some collaboration from hubby Nathan Larson), Peter on guitar and composing Magnus on bass, Lasse on the keyboards and the occasional guitar and Bengt's distinctive drumming.
The band tries a slightly rockier sound that Long Gone's, closer to First Band on the Moon- and there's considerably more fun here than the laid back sounds of late.
The record kicks off, like before, with one of the less inspired songs in the disc. Losing a friend has a slow, mechanical beat that bores me until the next song.
It's not murder, it's an act of faith
Godspell is a fairly weird anticlerical song with good rhythm and a quite catchy tune. Definetely, one of the highlights of the album. It is very varied and it will have you singing along.
I'm gonna sing until you hate this song
Next one is Drip Drop Teardrop, an odd number whose lyrics admit that the song's repetitive beat might get on your nerves. The lyrics didn't make it for me- only Nina's singing gives a little bit of interest to the track. This flows into Overload, another weak song.
Break your heart and raise a glass or ten
Until we come to I need some fine wine and you, you need to be nicer, one of the best song titles ever, backed by a song that goes back to the earlier band's trademarks- energetic music, depressive lyrics and a videoclip with physical violence towards the band (plus a kitty). The lyrics are a little bit awkward at times, but they are evocative in sections. Plus, the music is fun.
Don't blame your daughter (Diamonds) is a slow, sentimental number with nonsensical lyrics- which sometimes are poetic and sometimes weird.
Little Black Cloud is another nice track. The guitar has punch and it's backed strongly. The lyrics are nothing to write home about, but Nina sings solidly in what is a very well rounded song, with nice beats.
The band gets slightly experimental with In The Round, a quite interesting rhythmical exploration to clap hands to. It is followed my Holy Love, another slow romantic number whose claim to fame is having the lyric that names the album.
Good morning Joan, now pick up your phone
Good Morning Joan is another song that takes me back to earlier songs I love from the band, especially Rise and Shine, one of my favourite Cardigans- exploiting the counterpoint between happy music topped with Nina's bubbly voice and lyrics with a dark angle (although this one's are not as strong as others).
The disc closes with And Then You Kissed Me II, a variation of sorts of And Then You Kissed Me from Long Gone- an alternate universe version, if you wish. If you enjoyed the original, this sequel takes the same themes and brings twists to them, which makes for some odd sensations as it sounds very like the previous version, but not quite- which makes for a disturbing and interesting effect if you knew well And Then You Kissed Me.
All in all, an interesting record with 3-4 strong tracks that will please long time fans with winks to their earlier albums and the evolution of sorts that keeps them interesting. Nina's lyrics are a bit of a hit and miss- like all good lyricists she manages to create a personal world and some intriguing imagery, but her texts sometimes sound a little bit weird -probably due to English not being her first language, and Peter/Tore Johansson team up very well to deliver some interesting sounds and arrangements.