Ode to Ochrasy
First Appeared in The Music Box, May 2007, Volume 14, #5
Written by Jason Lent
Fri May 25, 2007, 06:00 AM CDT
Mando Diao hails from Sweden, and it is unapologetic about its appropriations from the British music scene. Proving that rock ’n‘ roll recycles itself more often than not, the group’s latest effort Ode to Ochrasy contains 14 easy-to-follow melodies that echo The Beatles and Oasis. Sound familiar? It should because it seems as if almost every band landing on U.S. soil of late has the ’60s pop vibe down pat. Consequently, it takes a stronger album than this to stand out.
Each song on Ode to Ochrasy represents a character that the members of Mando Diao met while touring in support of their earlier albums, but the lyrics remain light on substance. Unfortunately, when the writing does try to take on weight (Good Morning Herr Horst), the effort loses steam with overly earnest lines like "I once had a love of mine/With a different heart, in another time/I blew that all with pills and alcohol." Ironically, Mando Diao’s obvious Libertines influence gives the song new life when it is viewed as an ode to Pete Doherty. Later, The New Boy drowns in its own melodrama as orchestral strings kill the buzzing guitar amps around which the band sounds most comfortable.
When Mando Diao is at the top of its game (Long before Rock & Roll and The Wildfire [If It Was True]), the songs are propelled with the style and energy of Kaiser Chiefs. On Killer Kaczynyski, however, the trumpet that is buried in the mix sounds a little too much like the horns from The Cure’s Why Can’t I Be You, an effect that replays itself repeatedly throughout the album. The material is too familiar, and the listener is made to feel not so much as if he is standing on familiar shores as he is drowning in familiar waters. Ultimately, those who have seen Mando Diao’s live set will love Ode to Ochrasy, but it will not motivate new listeners to seek out the band for a night of pints and music.
Ode to Ochrasy is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box