Hurricane Bar? Mando Diao – Hurricane Bar

Hurricane Bar – Mando Diao

Tracklist

  1. “Cut the Rope” 1:51
  2. “God Knows” 3:52
  3. “Clean Town” 3:43
  4. “Down in the Past” 3:58
  5. “You Can’t Steal My Love” 5:30
  6. “Added Family” 4:18
  7. “Annie’s Angle” 3:04
  8. “If I Leave You” 2:53
  9. “Ringing Bells” 2:36
  10. “This Dream Is Over” 3:24
  11. “White Wall” 3:51
  12. “All My Senses” 4:13
  13. “Kingdom & Glory” 4:16
  14. “Next to Be Lowered” 3:45

About the album

Hurricane Bar, is the second studio release from Swedish quintet, Mando Diao. Released in 2004 in Sweden (2005 worldwide), this is the album that helped make the band known outside of Sweden.

Thoughts on the album

Personally, Hurricane Bar is my favorite Mando Diao album. While it’s not quite as commercial as Ode to Ochrasy or not quite as rough, raw, and edgy as Bring ‘Em In, it still holds up. What is present throughout the album, is a collection of punchy, infectious hooks, and ambitious choruses, that make up a selection of fourteen melodic should-be anthems.

Here’s the thing about Mando Diao… critics claim they sound too much like other bands from Sweden and sound too much like a pop band to be a “hard rock” or even “punk rock”. Well to that effect I say…

the Swedes play pop rock with Clash punk intensity and seemingly wild reckless abandonment. The songs are incredibly melodic and accessible rock songs like bands have been doing since the Beatles. However, Mando Diao slams through those pop rock songs like a hurricane slamming through a coastal town. For example: “Cut the Rope” and “Clean Town” feature Clash-like gang vocals, shouted like a band from a warehouse district who is used to playing gig beneath the train tracks.

And The Clash is just the beginning of the sound. “God Knows” gets bluesy in the style of Oasis, the almost quintessential English/Brit Rock way. The blues punk sound also shows up in “The Dream is Over.” A wee bit of The Kinks are also lurking here, in the slacker blues of “Added Family,” which includes some pseudo-American 60’s rock “whoo” vocals.

“Kingdom & Glory” has a guitar line that is very similar to the Cure’s “Boys Don’t Cry,” but the gang vocals on the chorus could also be Monkees-inspired. It could only be Mando Diao that could combine those sounds, bringing out the punk lines from the original goths and Neil Diamond in the same song.

Following the punk intensity through these many forms makes Hurricane Bar a truly exciting album. Lead single, “Down in the Past” captures this intensity of Hurricane Bar. The urgent guitars of Norén and Dixgård on the chorus give way to drum and bass on the verses. There’s a hint of classic rock in the guitars, with a punch-a-fist tempo, and melodic punk to top it all off. With all of that, Mando Diao should conquer the world.

Hurricane Bar rocks like stereotypical garage rock but on steroids. However, there are moments of genuine diversity that proves the Swedes to be more than a one trick pony. Going back to “Added Family,” it is a moody tune that suggests vintage Robyn Hitchcock. While the track “All My Senses” features an organ break that makes nice reference to the Doors’ “Light My Fire”. There’s even a charming acoustic tune called `Ringing Bells” which helps to pace the record quite nicely.

Conclusion

If I were to rank Mando Diao’s (English) albums, it would go: 1) Ode to Ochrasy 2) Hurricane Bar. Why? The five Swedes combine everything that was good with their first release, Bring ‘Em In, with smoother, foot tapping sound with Hurricane Bar. The album provides a youthful like energy with slightly naive but also self-aware sound. Definitely an improvement over Bring ‘Em In. As I should be saying with each album… words just don’t do it justice; you need to listen for yourself to get the full experience.

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