A Camp – Colonia (2009)

A Camp - ColoniaI personally encourage artists and musicians to pursue side projects in addition to their regular or main gigs. Some people need to explore their creativity that isn’t in line with what they’re currently doing.

For musicians like Jack White, side projects seem to be his lifeblood (in addition to The White Stripes, see The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather). For others, side projects are simply just that.

A Camp — the side project of The Cardigans frontwoman Nina Persson, Persson’s husband Nathan Larson of Shudder To Think, and Atomic Swing lead singer Niclas Frisk — seems to have both formed and restarted at random.

Originally a duo, A Camp added Larson for the band’s follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2001 self-titled debut.

For Cardigans fans, on one hand Colonia resembles more of the band’s latter works than their earlier American radio-friendly “My Favourite Game”-esque songs. However, on the other hand, Colonia showcases Persson’s lovely and pleasant vocals that prove to be so expressive and awe gazing in the album’s pop-filled form.

“The Crowning” opens as a bright and revelatory tune before the sarcasm fully envelopes: “Hear how the hearts are pounding / We’re all witnessing the crowning / Of your big bleeding head.” The wry lyricism works well with Persson’s infectious power pop voice. She’s dominant on the lover’s lament “Love Has Left The Room” and even more so on the quirky ballad “Stronger Than Jesus”.

Colonia is at its strongest when it maintains a minimalist tone and relies on Persson to carry the melody, which happens mostly during the album’s first half. Persson is somewhat drowned out in “My America,” and while the final two mostly instrumental tracks aren’t bad you get to a point at each one that you spend waiting to hear her voice again.

I guess the band spoils us. Much of the album is filled with Persson’s words that we grow to expect to hear them all the time. Of course, A Camp is much more than just Persson or so I’d like to believe.

A Camp

A Camp

A Camp

A Camp

A Camp

[photos via Nettwerk Music Group]

Track list:

    1. The Crowning
    2. Stronger Than Jesus
    3. Bear On The Beach
    4. Love Has Left The Room
    5. Golden Teeth And Silver Medals
    6. Here Are Many Wild Animals
    7. Chinatown
    8. My America
    9. Eau De Colonia
    10. I Signed The Line
    11. It’s Not Easy To Be Human
    12. The Weed Had Got There First

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