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The Wannadies | Before & After (Cooking Vinyl)
Before this fabulous five came from the depths of Skelleftea, Swedish music consisted of Abba and the chef from the Muppets. Several albums down the road and they show no signs of slowing down, despite the vagaries of the music industry. Originally released last year in their homeland, but now seeing further light, it's a two part disc and early import copies were available as a double CD set. Played as one it can seem odd, the fast songs start it and the mellower ones finish, but it's not unlike the experience of seeing them live. You bounce along as Little By Little kicks in and it seamlessly merges with Nothing Wrong and your hair is starting to get ragged and wet. You pause for breath as Piss On You wiggles in before joining the moshpit again for the bouncy chorus - no doubt aimed at the labels who have wronged the band over the years. Now things are hotting up to a frenzy and Skin simply explodes as only a 'dies song can, running full pelt towards Uri Geller, (yes, they even make a pop song about a spoon bender and get you singing along). All Over Me ends the set, sending the faithful into a whirl of keyboards and guitars and leaving them wanting more. As you head for home, drenched in sweat and smiling, the soft strains of Disko plays along, keeping you company as you wait for the bus or train, rattling around your head as your ears buzz. The steady motion of the underground train is matched by Singalong Son on the internal jukebox. You're alone now, friends have gone their separate ways and you're already pondering when the next gig is, what you'll have to eat and the result of the Tour de France as stations drift by. Thoughts meandering as weariness and exhaustion set in, "I just need some sleep," your mind sings and your eyes start to close, Christina and Par lure you away to come away with them. You're as Happy as the song hints at, lost in your own world, wondering why more aren't there too. Walking deserted streets, the black blue sky splashed with stars that sparkle in time to Can't Stop You and the quiet seems to echo your footsteps as you pace towards your door with a Love Letter forming in your head. "My dearest Wannadies," it begins, "you are the one, I care not for the others that came after."

Laurence Arnold
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003