Wannadies Before & After

Narrowly avoiding the tagline of "whatever happened to…?,” Sweden’s the Wannadies have arrived just in time to bring back the joy they spread all over years ago with "You & Me Song.” Without cashing in on the latest Scandinavian garage craze, they’ve stuck to their guns, churning out only the finest in tasty, melodic power pop. Though their last album, the major label disaster that was Yeah, may have thrown off some fans, rest assured that Before & After picks up right where 1997’s most excellent Bagsy Me left off. Adding a nice twist to the record’s layout, the Wannadies have chosen the first part, Before, as a collection of upbeat rock songs. "Skin” and "Piss on You” do their jobs properly, using the band’s wacky sense of humour to make the lyrics extra playful. After, of course, then exposes the sensitive side of the Wannadies, thankfully without resorting to wimpy balladry. "Disko,” for example, reverts to a classic Cure bass line to capture the mood and "Love Letter” offers the listener a perfect love song to use on a mix tape for that extra special someone. Whether it’s played separately or as a whole, Before & After is a strong, consistent album that welcomes back these beloved Swedish popsters. (Cooking Vinyl)