March 3, 2005

Testspin: Mandao Diao

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Swedish rock band Mando Diao has already faced many obstacles despite a young career. First, early compositions proved that cozy Swedish folk melodies, especially those not sung in English, would flop even in Sweden. Second, no matter how good his band is, Gustaf Noren may never convince us that Mando Diao is not The Hives. “They can’t write melodies,” he says. “It’s like, what the fuck is this? They’re worse than Depeche Mode.” He’s right — while The Hives are at best a one-hit wonder, Mando Diao’s ambitious lyrics, track-to-track diversity and catchiness leave them a bright future.

Although Mando Diao shamelessly admits that their music is at times a mimicry of The Rolling Stones, Nirvana and ’80s Scandinavian hard rockers like Atomic Swing, they do show signs of establishing their own niche. Some songs are ballads, like the gorgeous “Ringing Bells,” while others remind us of Ramones-esque guitars and yelling. The best tracks combine elements of many genres, and this variation is more an asset than a liability. Give it enough time, and Hurricane Bar will be stuck in your head too.

Archived article by Elliot Singer
Red Letter Daze Staff Writer