Mando Diao

Give Me Fire!

Written by: TL on 22/03/2009 20:44:24

That I am not one to closely follow the Swedish retro-rock scene is a fact that was already disclosed when I reviewed The Hellacopters' farewell album some time last year. A review I can't even be bothered to link to, suffice to say I didn't like that record, and the point is simply to emphasize that today's band, Mando Diao, is not of the kind that I'd normally keep my eye on. Thus this fifth LP of theirs, dubbed "Give Me Fire", is the first album I've actually heard from them, despite seeing their name pop up around the music scene plenty of times.

Now the band themselves have uttered that they see the new album as something that could've been the soundtrack to a Tarantino movie, and that should already give you a pretty good idea of what to expect. Seemingly celebrating all things 60's and 70's, Mando Diao pick up on sounds spanning in likelyhood from The Doors and Iggy And The Stooges, over Beatles and Bob Dylan and even into the occasional hint of Motown, packaging all these classic American influences into a dark and tight northern sound hinting at their Scandinavian heritage.

This however does NOT make them sound phony, and I'll promptly admit that "Give Me Fire" has made a fan out of me. Starting out awesomely with the explosive Hives/Stooges reminiscent "Blue Lining, White Trenchcoat", the record proceeds to peak early with the lead single "Dance With Somebody", a song that pretty much sounds like Jim Morrison doing a disco song and instantly catches on and pushes you to do as its title commands. You should scroll down and listen to that fucker now by the way. "Gloria" follows suite, and especially the violins and the female backing vocals give me a feeling that's half Motown, half "this-could-open-a-Bond-movie". Already I'm sure that if Tarantino knows this band, he loves them, and as for this album, it goes a long way in speaking of its quality, that I can connect titles with music for all but two or three of its thirteen tracks.

It's not all praise though, because even though I recognize the strong character of the songs offered here, it's hard not to feel like things are getting increasingly less captivating as you progress away from the first two energetic tracks, and into the more mellow stylistical exhibitions of the album's middle. You'd be prone to forgive the band though, because songs like "High Heels" and the subtle "Crystal" are still cleverly written, and goes to show the band's capability for variety, but still they're just not as arousing as say, "Give Me Fire" or "You Got Nothing On Me". I guess this feeling could be because I'm really more of a The Doors rock'n'roll fan than I am of all the more mellow stuff that has obviously influenced Mando Diao too, but then if you don't share that disposition, you can add a grade in the end at your own leisure.

Nevertheless, Mando Diao still show that their love for the old stuff is justified through their excellent modern rendition of it, and after lenghty discussion with myself, I've decided not to knock the album down half a grade just because of its variety. Then I'd rather risk overgrading it slightly so that you decide to check it out dear reader, because on the tracks where Mando Diao are good, they are really fuckin' good, and they definitely invite for us all to see each other at their next liveshow in these parts.


Download: "Dance With Somebody", "Blue Lining, White Trenchcoat", "You Got Nothing On Me"
For The Fans Of: The Doors, The Strokes, 60's revilalist rock'n'roll

Release Date: 13.02.2007
Universal Music Group

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