OK. Itís official. Not that everyone didnít know it already, but I REALLY want to know what the hell is in the water in Sweden. Not only do they have some track stars, as new track and field pin-up girl Carolina Kluft won hearts and the heptathlon gold medal at the World Championships this week, and compatriot Cristian Olsson also took the gold in the triple jump, but they have some bad-ass rock bands. Itís not news. We all love The Hives, Caesars, Sahara Hotnights, The Cardigans, plus thereís Kent, Motorhomes and now Mando Diao. These boys from Borl?nge are firmly rooted in the ë60s, in both style and substance. First single and album opener ìSheepdog,î as heard on Player .046, is a rollicking ë60s garage rock anthem, all driving beats and with a hook that makes you want to get your go-go boots on and hit the cage. Organ sounds drive most of the rest of the album, with ìThe Bandî standing out especially for its funky groove, while ìTo China With Loveî rings of a Summer of Love ballad. Imagine Inspiral Carpets jamming with The Kinks while wearing leather and youíre on the track to sorting out what Mando Diao are all about. Now if I could just sort out why Sweden seems to rule so hard.
JEREMY P. GOLDSTEIN