Before & After (Cooking Vinyl)
By: Cam Lindsay
Before anyone could ask "Whatever happened to The Wannadies?" the Swedish quintet has finally released their sixth album, Before & After. Now signed to Cooking Vinyl after an unsuccessful attempt with a major on their previous album, The Wannadies' return is as welcome as an ice cream in the summertime. A concept album of sorts, it's split into two parts, with the first, Before, focusing on the happy and the fast, while the second, After, concentrates on the sad and the slow. Before has everything that made them Sweden's favorite popsters. "Skin", the album's first single is as raucous and energetic as past hits like "Might Be Stars", "Friends" and "Hit". The simple rhyme of the chorus shows things haven't changed in their camp, which, of course is what every fan wants, considering Sweden's been all about the garage rock as of late. "Piss On You" isn't half as nasty as it sounds, instead leading a casual existence that sounds more like a children's variety show sing-a-long. After isn't the tear-jerking, sorrow-filled funeral party one may think it is. Singer P?r Wiksten's voice is cursed with a undeniably cheerful tone that makes "Disko", with its obvious nod to The Cure, sound as gloomy as finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Only the ironic "Happy" and downtrodden "Can't Stop You" come close to resembling any form of melancholia, and even that's a stretch. Let's face it, The Wannadies are the sweetest, most pleasant band of all time and it's impossible for even their sad songs not to cheer you up.
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