"So there's this great band Mando Diao," Lauren
begins, posting a picture of the Swedish band on her wall, chockfull
of the latest indie hopefuls. "I got their new CD, and they're
"Mando Diao? What does that even mean?" I lean back
on Lauren's bed, watching her try to hold four pictures up and
pull tape out of a dispenser simultaneously.
"Who knows? But they're good and that's all that matters."
Sure, the names have been changed to protect the innocent, but
that's more or less how my first condescending introduction to
Mando Diao went down. For a long time, I rebelled against listening
to the band just because Lauren liked them, and more often that
not, she favored a band just because no one had heard of them.
But as the years went by, and I managed to grow into my own obscure
musical tastes, I found that she was more or less right about
Mando Diao. I have no idea what the name means, but God knows
it took me long enough to finally work up the nerve to take it
out of my car's stereo and into my house for fear of actually
having to listen to the radio.
Ode To Ochrasy starts out strong with an unsentimental
"Welcome Home, Luc Robitaille," which sounds a lot like
Oasis. "Long Before Rock N' Roll" is an overtly
sexually charged thrasher of a Beatles song, with lyrics
in the vein of "In The Bathroom," by Nightmare Of
You. My favorite songs on the album are "The New Boy"
and "Josephine." The former is a new take on every "Look
at me, I'm different" song of the 1960s, but done in an amply
diverse way (lyrics include: "I don't waste the things I
say / When in doubt, fuck the world / Forget all the things you've
heard / Now here's the new boy taking on the world tonight").
The latter is basically "Exit Music For A Film" by Radiohead...
but I'm okay with that.
So what if they're just resuscitating old Rolling Stones'
songs? Maybe those songs needed to be brought back to life? And
personally, I'm sick of old sad bag rock and roll. I'm happy to
see any band on the under forty side of the age spectrum making
music that actually matters to me. You've come a long way in the
past twelve years, Mando Diao, and I can't wait to see more of
1. Welcome Home, Luc Robitaille
2. Killer Kaczynski
3. Long Before Rock 'n' Roll
4. The Wildfire (If It Was True)
5. You Don't Understand Me
6. Tony Zoulias (Lustful Life)
8. TV & Me
10. The New Boy
11. Morning Paper Dirt
12. Good Morning, Herr Horst
13. Song for Aberdeen
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