After a long four year rest since Gran Turismo, The Cardigans released in March 2003 their new album, Long Gone Before Daylight. In these four years, the band members have dabbled with their solo careers (notably, Nina's A Camp, Magnus' Righteous Boy and Peter's record with Titiyo), and apparently healed some band wounds.

So how does Long Gone Before Daylight sound?

If I had to compare it to another Cardigans' album, I'd say the closest is First Band On The Moon, but there are more similarities to Nina's A Camp. Country influences, a distant smell of Pink Floyd, a little touch of electronics and Nina's voice, love or hate it. They say it is a more intimate record, and in a way it feels as if the lyrics are really personal (written by Nina, music by Peter), intimate. If you lie comfortably and close your eyes, you can nearly feel The Cardigans playing in your living room.

1. Communication
2. You're The Storm
3. A Good Horse
4. And Then You Kissed Me
5. Couldn't Care Less
6. Please Sister
7. For What It's Worth
8. Lead Me Into The Night
9. Live And Learn
10. Feathers And Down
11. 3:45 - No Sleep

On the tracks themselves, the album opens with Communication, a very quiet opening. Personally, I find it has the weakest lyrics of all (if this is communication, I disconnect), but it is a sweet piece. You Are The Storm improves things a bit. Starts out slowly, but it has strength and some clever engineering on Nina's vocals. Apparently, this will be the album's second single.

I found myself a good horse, yes I found myself a strong horse

The album makes a 180 degree turn with A Good Horse. Distorted guitars and a steady beat make this one of the strongest pieces which should make a good live number. Horse sounds quite a lot like whore, methinks. Curiously, this rocky track leads to And Then You Kissed Me, an organ introduced sweet song.

and it hits me like never before, that love is a powerful force

And Then You Kissed Me is another highlight of the album. It sounds nice, it sounds cool and the lyrics are good (and weird: blue, blue, black and blue, red blood sticks like glue). This is a track that must be enjoyed fully. After this comes Couldn't Care Less, who sounds very interesting, haunting and atmospheric, but the lyrics didn't do it for me.

so if it's true that love will never die, then why do the lovers work so hard to stay alive?

Please Sister is perhaps my favourite song there. Catchy riff, powerful sound (bells and violins included) and the right quantity of samples make this a very interesting track. This takes us to For What It's Worth, the album's first single, a fast country ballad that looks somewhat lost in this album.

get back in my bed, keep making me feel alright

Next on the list is Lead Me Into The Night, which reminds me of Emmerdale's Last Song, but somewhat more upbeat and less sad. Intriguing lyrics inside, too.

I started a fight, 'cos I knew I was right but I learned I was wrong

The other big track on Long Gone is Live and Learn. I read a critic who said he didn't like the album, but that he cried with this song. Back to The Cardigans's tradition of putting happy music to sad lyrics, it strikes a beautiful contrast. The music works great, male backing vocals sound surprisingly good behind Nina's voice, and the track sounds so well put together...

Feathers and down is a cool, slow, synth-influenced piece which could have belonged to Gran Turismo, with some interesting lyrics as Lead Me Into The Night that draw some interesting images. The disc closes with 3:45 - No Sleep, which is, of course, exactly 3:45 long. Another slow, calm ballad with some beautiful lyrics that give the album its name (the comfort of fireflies, long gone before daylight), that talk about memorable nights.

I know nothing sweeter than Champagne from last New Years'

Overall, Long Gone Before Daylight is a very solid album. A Good Horse, And Then You Kissed Me, Please Sister and Live And Learn are worth it; not that the other songs are bad either, but this is a record to relax to and enjoy it like good wine. I'm wondering how will they tour this, but here's hoping I'll be able to catch them live.

You can find some interesting notes on the history of the album on:

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