Angela Lewis on pop

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The Independent Online
At the V96, where Paul Weller headlines in Chelmsford on Sunday, one thing is guaranteed - The Cardigans will be the politest band on the bill. When the Swedish smilers were on the road earlier this year, part of the amusement was concentrating to hear whether vocalist Nina Persson slipped up and forgot to deliver one of her ever-so-gracious thank-yous at the end of a song. She never did. You almost expected her to curtsey along with it. With the help of fellow Swedes the Wannadies, The Cardigans (right) have given Euro indie pop a good name. Maybe sometimes their music is so neat it could be the result of a laboratory experiment, but the tacky glamour - Barbie Doll vocals, slinky Abba-meets-The-Smiths melodies - are getting more irresistible all the time.

Forthcoming album, The First Band on the Moon, is a corker. Especially as all is not as fluffy and lightweight in the world of The Cardigans as it may initially seem. "I've been your sister, I've been you mistress, maybe I was your whore, you can't ask me for more," Nina purrs with sweet poison in "Been It". They've laid on a litany of sad love songs, but only ones with medicinal powers to actually pick you up rather than drown you in melancholy. It's a tough trick - maybe they have a secret weapon back in the socialist Eden that is Sweden. Whatever, the bill for V96 is mostly good, what with Orbital, Tricky, Paul Weller and The Lightning Seeds indicating the variety of thrills on the bill. Thing is, will we have any energy left next week for the last live binge of the summer, the Reading Festival?

The Cardigans, Hylands Park, Chelmsford (0171-287 0932) Sun

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