Mando Diao

Good Times

Written by: TL on 02/09/2017 11:45:19

Swedish indie rock success Mando Diao are coming to Vega, Copenhagen this winter, which makes it seem prudent to catch up with their eighth album "Good Times" which came out earlier this year, and with the main banquet of fall releases still waiting just around the corner, now seems like as good a time as ever. The album follows 2014's "Aelita", and stylistically Mando Diao are not far from the same waters they were in then: A timeless mixture of 70's rock, soul, and disco is on the menu once more, and by now it's getting to feel like there are a certain format and standard you can safely expect of a Mando Diao album.

What's meant by that is that the Swedes consistently come up with good ideas to build songs around, then tend to wrap them in some sort of infectious, brazen beats that make you wonder if you can pull some moves like Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, as they narrate the whole thing with smokey vocals that quickly bring Tom Jones to mind. The best of a batch are then frontloaded onto an album, which means you get a strong impression up front. The early triplet of "All The Things", "Good Times" and "Shake" are all evidence of this, getting groovy right off the bat and tugging at your feet.

Where the band sort of struggles is when the time comes for variety. After three songs for the dance floor, you get to feeling like a change of pace is in order, and Mando Diao aren't quite as convincing at this. The melodramatic album opener "Break Us" is an exception, and the mellow but cheeky "Hit Me With A Bottle" at track seven has its charm as well, but tracks like "Money" and "Watch Me Now" get to feeling like slightly staler versions of what came before, when they follow the three previously mentioned danceable tracks. "Money", furthermore, contains examples of the fact that just because you know how to make soulful backing choirs, it doesn't mean you always should. It gets a bit kitsch.

Later on the album, it's mainly "Dancing All The Way To Hell" that works as a fixture, although the track is a bit unresolved on closer inspection, having signs of potential for something more dark and sweeping than it ever delivers. A couple of tracks later, the album closes at the 44th minute, leaving you with the impression that Mando Diao retain a unique and charming sound, and a knack for infectious, danceable tracks, that will likely always make them interesting, but that they there's not quite enough depth, variety, or high impact moments to quite lift them from "cool" up to the leagues of "great".


Download: Shake, Break Us, All The Things, Good Times
For The Fans Of: Go Go Berlin, Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys, The Hives

Release date 12.05.2017
Geshgore AB / BMG

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