Album: A Camp, Colonia, (Reveal)

Scrape off the sugar, and there's poison within
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The Independent Culture

There was always a certain autumnal melancholia to the Cardigans, just beneath the sugary surface.

In Nina Persson's side project A Camp, it's brought to the foreground. This is a very Scandinavian trait, of course, and without wishing to make too obvious a comparison, the mood of 'Colonia' is highly reminiscent of late-period-Abba. Take, for example, the muted alienation of the line "My reflection in the butcher's window isn't me..." ("Chinatown"). Persson's belief, it seems, is that love – rather than being the saviour of humanity – is a slow death sentence, comparable to eating "a poison hidden in a bonbon", or drinking "mercury on ice". The sound is understated orchestral pop with nods to the Carpenters and the Ronettes, and Persson's lyrical touch is on top form, notably on "I Signed the Line", a post-mortem on a marriage's messy end: "Don't give me platinum to weigh down my wrist/I've got injunctions, so cease and desist..." Pessimism has rarely sounded so beautiful.

Pick of the album: We're gonna party like it's 1699: 'The Crowning'

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