The Cardigans

Gran Turismo

  • Stockholm Records

With their sunny, catchy melodies, the Cardigans folded easily into a slot alongside fellow Swedish acts Ace of Base and Abba. No more. Their fifth release trades in the diabetic pop of their breakthrough Lovefool for a moodier, more atmospheric trip-hop sensibility. “Do you really think that love is gonna save the world?” asks singer Nina Persson, in “Do You Believe,” only to answer, “Well, I don't think so.” Yes, cynicism abounds between distorted, fuzzy-as-a-sweater guitar riffs, most notably on the plaintive “Favorite Game” and the lilting “Erase/Rewind.” Foreboding and surprisingly world-weary, “Gran Turismo” puts to rest any fears that the Cardigans would keep their dark side buttoned up.

Alicia Potter