Mando Diao Bring 'Em InMando Diao Bring 'Em In

Mando Diao: Bring 'Em In

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Mando Diao
Bring 'Em In

Genre: Rock
Year: 2004
Country: USA
Official Site: Mando Diao
Details: Tracks & Audio
Label: Mute Records
The Strokes. The Hives. The Kinks. The Rolling Stones.

You know, that ol-time rock 'n' roll.

My brother took me aside one day and told me I just had to listen to the song backing a video of skateboarding mishaps. It sounded like some 1960s English rock band, and he wanted to know who it was. I couldn't tell him, but it grooved and kicked with lots of fuzz and attitude. It was definitely a great decades-old track newly rediscovered.

That decades-old track turned out to be the three-year-old "Hello Operator" from the quite-new band The White Stripes.

That same authentic sound of rock gone past is what the Swedish boys in Mando Diao bring to the table, a lo-fi brew of staticky guitars and lead vocals. Frantic single-string picking on guitars matches up perfectly with Gustaf Noren's pitch-perfect 1960s Kinks Ray Davies yelling and posturing. But it also fits perfectly with the band's Noel Gallagher, the deeper-voiced, slightly-off-note Bjorn Dixgard. The two singers — Gustaf on rhythm guitar, Bjorn on lead — color each song differently, but work just right with the band. Gustaf sounds like the heartthrob, strutting and squealing on top of a song, dancing with the guitar and drums. Bjorn sounds like a spine in each song, buried deep, walking somewhere between the rhythm section and the melody.

Truth is, I like Mando Diao a lot more than the White Stripes. The White Stripes, with their intentionally classic instruments and production, seem to love the nostalgic sound of their music more than making great songs for today. You can do both. Case in point: Another Swedish favorite of mine, Soundtrack of Our Lives, which mixes 1960s and 1970s rock cliches and sounds with a modern sensibility, using the modern studio to build on an old sound, not just try to re-create an old sound.

"Mr. Moon's" silly, sweet chorus owes more to 1990s Oasis balladry than 1960s Kinks, although it mixes them both. The propulsive "The Band" kicks harder than the 1960s, because it employs an addictively poked organ support reminiscent of 1970s and 1980s English ska-flavored punk.

The Strokes. The Hives. The Kinks. The Rolling Stones.

Mando Diao. Who cares that I don't know what the band's name means?

  Brendan Howard

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