Reviewed by Scott McLoughlin
If the Arctic Monkey’s were more soulful and Swedish, or if the Hives decided they wanted to ‘become more mature’ (which they should never do) you might end up with Mando Diao. ‘Give me Fire’ is their 5th Studio Album. Upon first listening this album peaks, and troughs. There are, however, some absolute standout tracks. Tracks including ‘Gloria’ which subtly incorporates strings and female backing vocals into Mando’s ‘boyish garage rock’ meets ‘gospel’ sound. A sound I’m lead to believe in the past was driven by bass lines, choppy chords, distorted guitar riffs and dancey rock /indie beats. This less produced sound perhaps best epitomised by their breakthrough 2004 album ‘Hurricane Bar’. In many respects, not a whole lot has changed, though there is indication of further diversion away from the sound of albums gone by. Perhaps the pop highlight of the album is ‘Dance with somebody’. It’s the kind of track that should, and probably will, echo around national radio for months. It has ‘sing-along-able’ lyrics, and words that will most definitely stick in your head. Stick to the extent you’ll have to beat them out of your mind with concentrated doses of Britney Spears ‘womanizer’ (or something equally repetitive) which conveniently you’ve crafted into some sort of mind baseball bat. Mercifully it’s not all just mindless pop dribble. After two or three listens you start to get what this album is all about. The in your face indie pop tracks, though still enjoyable, take a back seat. Tracks such as ‘Maybe Just Sad’, show that amongst the gospel Mando actually do have something to preach; preaching with the innocence of language only a Swedish band singing in English could. Mando frame themselves as sort of working class heroes. You can see why with reoccurring references to ‘the upper classes’. If this isn’t your political view, don’t worry, everyone can relate to death. Mando Diao’s track ‘Crystal’ is amongst the most pleasant I’ve heard dealing with the subject of the afterlife. I don’t feel this album will be the death of the band; in fact quite the contrary. ‘Give me fire’ looks set to bring Mando Diao to the attention of a fan base that has thus far eluded them. I just hope current Mando fans enjoy it. Stick with it, and give it a few listens when it’s released.