Monday, May 11, 2009

A Camp: Colonia

In which is considered the question: Is Nina Persson selling out?

Well, not really. Anyone whose early work (with the Cardigans) mixed references to Emmerdale Farm with Black Sabbath covers is more or less permanently immunised against any accusation so naffly '70s. But a first couple of listens to A Camp's second album do rather suggest that it's short on the sinister-surreal edge of their first, cover art notwithstanding. A Camp used a lot of conventional-sounding instrumentation and arrangements, to be sure, but placed them behind Persson's dark or chilling or moving singing. This one just doesn't seem to have anything to match the bass-synth thunder of "Such a Bad Comedown", or as hook-laden as "The Bluest Eyes in Texas" - let alone as chilling as the Cardigan's similarly recent "And Then You Kissed Me", as smart as their "You're the Storm", or as potent as "I Need Some Fine Wine, and You, You Need to Be Nicer". And the loose theme of colonialism doesn't really seem to hold it together.

Still, it does have "Stronger Than Jesus" (Don't you know that love is stronger than Jesus?/Don't you know love can kill anyone?/Bring it on, wars and diseases...) and the mutant-'60s-girl-group style of "Here Are Many Wild Animals". I guess that Persson's self-possessed-masochist stance might begin to wear after a few more albums, but I'm still along for the ride.

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