The Cardigans

Gran Turismo

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AllMusic Review by

With "Lovefool," the Cardigans catapulted from a cult favorite to an international phenomenon. Instead of being happy with their success, they fretted about their artistic credibility, concerned that they were seen as merely a light pop band instead of an ironic pop band. This is usually a danger sign for any young band, since it results in a self-conscious departure from form -- and that is exactly what Gran Turismo, the follow-up to First Band on the Moon, is. There are still elements of the group's appealing melodic style, but they have trimmed away their sense of humor and style, adding vague electronica experiments and mildly distorted guitars in their wake. Truth be told, there were always hints of despair beneath the Cardigans' shiny surface, but they often sound as if they're trying too hard to be serious throughout this labored, self-conscious album. Since the band has talent, there are not only hints of past glory, there are suggestions where the group intended to go, but too often Gran Turismo sounds like diluted Garbage, not new-school Cardigans. It may simply be a transitional album, but it's a dispiriting listen, nevertheless.

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