Year 2, Day 27: Time to Bring ‘Em In

Year 2, Album 27: Mando Diao – Bring ‘Em In

Tracklisting

  1. Sheepdog
  2. Sweet Ride
  3. Motown Blood
  4. Mr. Moon
  5. The Band
  6. To China With Love
  7. Paralyzed
  8. P.U.S.A
  9. Little Boy Jr.
  10. Lady
  11. Bring ‘Em In
  12. Lauren’s Cathedral

About the Album

Bring ‘Em In is the debut album from Swedish band, Mando Diao. The album was released in Sweden in 2002, and internationally in 2003.

Thoughts on the Album

Considering my the first Mando Diao I ever listened to was Hurricane Bar, I kind of went in revere, listening to their newer stuff first (with exception of Never Seen the Light of Day). Today’s album is Mando Diao‘s debut album, Bring ‘Em In. It’s nothing short of garage rock meets britpop sneer/swagger and punk. Without any further interruption lets get started…

Bring ‘Em In‘s strength lies with it’s dual vocalists (and guitarists), Gustaf Norén and Björn Dixgård. It’s almost a perfect combination, with Norén’s voice being more fiery and Dixgård’s voice sounding more robust and soulful. There are twelve songs on the album and the two trade off lead vocals on half of them. This provides an awesome variety, as the listener never hears the same voice for too long.

The opening track Sheepdog, wastes no time in telling the listener that they are about to rocked straight into the ground. The guitars of dual frontmen Gustaf Norén and Björn Dixgård are immediately noticeable: Norén’s riffs are blazing with pent-up aggression. Norén and Dixgård do an excellent job of bringing the listener back to a time when organs where considered cutting edge and guitar distortion was viewed as a severe negative. It’s like Norén was channeling his inner Roger Daltrey on this one.

The third song, Motown Blood, sounds like it was taken directly from the era of the 1950’s and 1960’s American rock. It’s a bluesy sounding number. With Norén’s relentless howl, the rest of the band pounds out a R&B groove that would sound perfect during the 50’s and 60’s.

Paralyzed combines a pummeling rhythm that is similar to the Velvet Underground with Motown-era horns and Norén’s fiery voice. Think of the Kink’s Sweet Lady Genevieve, but instead of high-minded instrumental flourishes, you get pleasantly low-brow vitality and humor. This is evidenced by the sly, yet snarky, and pseud-sarcastic line:

She ain’t as beautiful as me, but she’s as beautiful as she can be

For me, tracks like Mr. Moon, The Band, and To China With Love stick out. Mr. Moon, Dixgård’s second song on the album, starts off with a bluesy, plaintive verse. This is before Dixgård’s chorus just takes over:

I wanna love you but I’m growing old, ten little soldiers screaming in my soul

Mr. Moon is personally, one of my favorite Mando Diao songs (of all time), which is actually a very long list of songs by them. But I digress.

The Band, is dual Norén/Dixgård written song, with Gustaf writing the verses and Björn writing the chorus. The song is about a fight the two had. The song itself is fast-pace, quick-tempo; an in-your-face jam if you could call it that. The organs play a big part in the song, and Daniel Haglund just plays it expertly.

To China With Love is something that sounds straight out of the 60’s. It’s a very ambitious number that starts out with murky undertones before the chorus kicks it up another notch:

Back, all the way to China, in a police car from Japan. Sitting in the back seat crying, where’s your pride?

Finally the last song the album, Lauren’s Cathedral is an excellent closer. It’s an unabashed power ballad, but instead of the usually bombast you hear with stereotypical power ballads, you get the icy cold organ playing of Daniel Haglund, grounding the song.

Conclusion

Overall the album is definitely an excellent debut, and if you listen to the Mando Diao albums following Bring ‘Em In you can hear the growth as musicians the band as done. The trade off of vocals between Gustaf Norén and Björn Dixgård adds a level of dynamic and passion that is not heard from with other bands.

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