The Chrysler's first album (2003's Failures and Sparks) was a very pleasing amalgamation of classic American influences (Neil Young, the Band), emotional U.K. sounds (Coldplay, Snow Patrol), and hooky Swedish pop. Their second, 2005's Cold War Classic, makes a small step forward both in songcraft and production, making an already good band pretty close to excellent. As before, the band's sound is built around a sparse foundation of guitars, bass, keyboards, and drums. They layer in judiciously placed violins, percussion, horns, and backing vocals. This time out, though, Henrik von Euler's production is a bit sharper and the arrangements more carefully plotted out, which adds an extra dimension to the sound of the album. The songs would have worked stripped down to nothing, though, as both of the band's composers, Pelle Lindroth and Anders E. Rudström, have written some very fine songs that adeptly balance emotion and melody. Lyrically the duo is pretty downbeat and restrained, with the subject matter of the songs ranging from heartbreak to nostalgia and on to melancholy and regret. Musically, they have a wider palette, utilizing bopping indie pop with horns on "While the Tide Is High," strummy C86 twee-isms on "It Was 1982" and the sweet-as-summer "Blue Gold," as well as more appropriately downcast sounds on the dramatic "First Blood" and "Holland Park" (both of which sound like they could have been played by the Bad Seeds), the back porch country minor key ballad "Catholic Tuesday," and the exceedingly autumnal "Eddie." Lindroth and Rudström trade off vocals (singing their own compositions), and they both have wonderfully rich and evocative voices, perfect for the equally rich and evocative songs they have written. Cold War Classic is the kind of record you can disappear into; it creates a gentle and peacefully sad mood that's hard to shake for a while afterward, like a well-written book or well-made movie that creates its own world. The Chrysler don't get the same praise that some of their poppier and hipper fellow Swedes get, but they seem like a band that's going to be making records this classic for a long time to come.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra