It's a trick a handful of my favorite bands pull, that ability to refashion your parents' dusty old records into something fresh and exciting. A part of me feels like a sucker every time I fall for it: the major-to-minor chord progressions, the breathy vocals, the discofied open-and-close of the high-hat. I know what's coming, I know what's coming, I know what's coming--then it comes and I've got a goofy grin on my face. Kind of like sex, I guess. And that never gets old. The Cardigans make me lose my shit perhaps most easily of all. I even love Gran Turismo, the weird, creepy proto-goth fourth album. So when I learned that Tore Johansson, the Swedish guy who helms the band's records, mixed Puzzle, I was in. Other beneficial word-ups: Andy Chase, of New York City layabouts Ivy, produced; his partner Adam Schlesinger, who's also half of Fountains of Wayne, played keys; suit-wearing Sub Pop balladeer Eric Matthews played trumpet. In short, the grin was already forming.
Once I heard the record, the grin was stuck. And I knew I'd been tricked once again, duped by singer Xavier Boyer's awkward English and his band's breezy, computer-kissed jangle 'n' strum. Like Buzz Aldrin's lunar hot rod, it's weightless and a little obnoxious. But I just can't help myself.