Hurricane Bar

Mando Diao

EMI Music/Majesty, 2004

REVIEW BY: Chris Harlow


Dejected? Sure. Annoyed? That's putting it lightly. Pissed? Absolutely!

Now that my checklist for this review is exposed, let's just dive right into this baby.

I'm dejected because my elevated hopes have just been dashed despite the all-to-frequent references supplied by my half-way around-the-world friends and music contacts that make Sweden's, Mando Diao out to be the next big thing in rock n' roll. Their claims just aren't checking out after my repeated listens to Hurricane Bar, the band's second full length release, which admittedly isn't to say that I am even close to being familiar to the material found on the band's debut breakout, Bring 'em In. Let's just say that I hope that the release of Hurricane Bar finds the band moving in different musical directions than their debut for the sole fact that I'd hate to have to reevaluate the high regards I have for my source recommendations.

To make matters worse, even the band's website reads like a Muhammad Ali proclamation speech touting the fact that the band's youth, teamed with opening slots on tours with fellow Swedish Grammy winners, the Hellacopters and Kent, have earned Mando Diao what the European rock media has deemed a spot on a short list of "Swedish Bands with International Potential." One of the guys in the band even babbles in defending the opening slots on these bills citing the same motivation that drove another Swede and ladies golfer, Annika Sorenstam, into entering into a men's PGA golf event last year. The circumstance referenced was Mando Diao using their opportunity as a vehicle to measure themselves against the biggest bands in Sweden. Seeing how they punctuate the rationale by saying (in Mando Diao's words) that they"do it better" than their older touring partners, I'm calling bullshit as I detect someone believing their own hype.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I was told the band's music was rock. If this were the sixties and Mando Diao were a part of the same British invasion that first gave us Ray Davies and the Kinks and followed into the early 70's version of David Bowie, we might be on to something. And that assessment would be kind given the fact that the Kinks and Bowie have proven to truss the foundation that has spawned so much of what the term rock n' roll stands for today. It is one thing for a band to have the sound of others; it's quite another thing to actually have the songs to match up. You see, it's 2005 and I'm not sure this is the case with Hurricane Bar as I find myself feeling anesthetized in a Britpop bubble after hearing this disc. Boring.

Furthermore, I said I am annoyed. EMI has put a copy controlled seal on this disc making the fact that I write 99% of my reviews lounged on the couch with my laptop CD-ROM as the source of my player moot. Why? The damn CD skips to the proverbial loo (that pun is intended, mind you) with the Real Player software I have on my system. I downloaded another player and Hurricane Bar began playing normally. Chalk up another 45 minutes in getting my bearings set for an album that isn't inspiring me to be nothing short of a minor annoyance.

Now, as I conclude this piece, I'm pissed! Five songs into what I'll call my habitual "refresh-my-memory-by-playing-the-disc-as-I-write-my review" exercise, my computer powers off -- and stays off for the better part of ten minutes! This is the same laptop that powers my iPod as well as the one that supports many of my DVD viewings and now I am being forced to surrender to some crappy CD from a branch of a major label in a relatively remote part of this world?

Not a chance since this intentional component malfunction caused me to lose my more friendly first draft of this article. The world is now going to get this straight from the heart assessment. And guess what? I'm not done as there's more.

The constant shifting of my position on my couch in addressing these errors saw me spilling a perfectly good beer all over other cd's I do care about!!!!

So, I say screw it. Music isn't supposed to be this complicated. The industry forces the CD format on us and if they can't get it right, I'm going to really expand on the concept of what a CD review is all about and remind everyone that it's not always entirely about the music. It can and in this case should be expanded into also defining the experience.

Rating: F

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2005 Chris Harlow and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of EMI Music/Majesty, and is used for informational purposes only.