Review of A Camp's album 'Colonia'.
Despite being responsible for two of the nineties greatest pop moments - Erase/Rewind and My Favourite Game need you ask - The Cardigans will ultimately always be best remembered for the shonky kitsch of Lovefool. With the band on extended periods of sabbatical throughout their career lead singer Nina Persson has been far from idle, collaborating with both Tom Jones and The Manic Street Preachers in between the first and
second outings for her solo project A Camp.
Working again with Atomic Swing guitarist Niclas Frisk and husband Nathan Larson, Persson has now relocated to Manhattan, but adamantly maintains that her thematic inspirations remain 'love, alienation and Swedish melancholy'. She's not wrong; Colonia is stuffed full of graceful, country tinged pop, but underneath the gentility, the lyrical subjects are misty eyed romantic fools or bitter cynics in turn. Take the disconsolate virago of Love Has Left The Room, mournfully recognising that 'The party is over, but I can't get sober, obsession is tolling me deep down, down' whilst to the soul inspired backdrop of My America, Perrson acknowledges 'It's a cold hearted world' before going to defiantly tackle it on her own terms: 'I'm gonna be a girl'.
Colonia has one or two moments of startling quality - particularly the gospel tinged Stronger Than Jesus, the frigid calm of It's Not Easy To Be Human and heavy lidded closer The Weed Got Here First - but if it has a flaw, it's that too often Persson is content to sound like a scandanavian Chrissie Hynde. Crafted peerlessly and devoted to the rapidly dissapearing art of songwriting there's admittedly also a vague whiff of self indulgence, but as small as it's non-Swedish audience will probably be, they'll be boring their friends about Colonia's charm and idiosyncracy for months.