Ode To Ochrasy review by Mando Diao

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  • Released: Apr 2, 2007
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.1 (43 votes)
Mando Diao: Ode To Ochrasy

Sound — 9
Out of Sweden has come one of the most melodic and infectious straightforward rock bands heard in a long time. Mando Diao doesn't use any fancy guitar shredding or screaming to adorn their songs -- they rely on good old fashioned catchy songwriting that conjures a bit of the Rolling Stones, The Strokes, and Dirty Pretty Things. In the end, though, Mando Diao still manages to keep it's own identity on the new record Ode To Ochrasy. Hailing from Borlange, Sweden, Mando Diao has been on the Swedish rock scene since the late 1990's and it's latest 14-track release is actually the third release on the EMI Sweden label. Considering the strength in songwriting, it's actually surprising that the band hasn't attracted more attention until now. The band most prominently features the vocal and guitar work of Bjorn Dixgard and Gustaf Noren, 2 musicians who have equally strong voices that shine brightest during harmonies. There are plenty of single-worthy tracks on Ode To Ochrasy, but a few of the tracks jump out at you immediately. Tony Zoulias (Lustful Life) begins with a saloon-inspired piano (played by Mats Bjorke) that is plain fun. The song abruptly transitions into a bluesy guitar hook and eventually into an insanely catchy chorus. The song reaches a pinnacle when one of the guitarists rapidly strums and almost sounds like a mandolin at times. Thanks to the both vocalists' passionate deliveries on top of all the guitar work, the band goes beyond what a lot of garage bands are playing these days. The introduction of TV And Me has a bit of a Beatles' feel in terms of the vocals, but because the band members also have somewhat of a chameleon aspect to them, there is soon no trace of Paul, John, George, or Ringo. At other moments in the CD, Dixgard and Noren have a bit of a dueling-vocal thing going on, with each taking a line to deliver. These little moments you aren't necessarily expecting and make Ode To Ochrasy a surprisingly satisfying listen.

Lyrics — 8
The lyrics fit quite nicely along with the music, and have clever twists thrown in along the way. The single Good Morning, Herr Horst has an intriguing title in itself, with the body of the song being fairly unique in itself. I've been walking down the street; With a tambourine on my feet; I'm holding every beat steady and low, he sings. With the addition of lines dealing with booze and pills, it might be a little predictable, but at the same time it seems to fit the song. There are a few songs that you just seem to know you're missing out on the whole story. This fact makes for a confusing, but still intriguing song. A prime example of that is Welcome Home, Luc Robitaille. Line after line seems to convey conflicting emotions of whether or not to feel happy that Mr. Robitaille is back in town. He sings, I don't know even why I wrote this song; There's so much more to him than that paper card; Look at him crossing the line; Oh it's so hard to define the moves inside my head. While the meaning is not completely clear, it's nice to hear a song that conveys thoughts a little bit out of the ordinary.

Overall Impression — 9
The most impressive aspect to the CD is the multiple genres and styles that Mando Diao explores throughout the course of the 14 tracks. There are mellow, grooving tunes, but then in the next moments you're hearing Johnny Cash's low, spoken vocal channeled in a song like Good Morning, Herr Horst. Granted, they never tackle all-out metal, but the album has enough variety to keep it interesting. Mando Diao does have a feel-good, bar-band feel to it's music, but at the same time that is oversimplifying it. With the addition of violins, cellos, and trumpets in some of the tracks, there is a lot more going on than the band might be given credit. There have been a lot of British bands that have done solid jobs of tackling bluesy (and memorable) garage rock, and Sweden's Mando Diao are equally impressive entrants into that genre.

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    good to see a review up for this, one of my favourite bands in recent years. First few tracks here really sound like The Libertines, but as the review says there's a lot of variety once you get past there. Good album.
    Mando Diao rocks!! i love them, one of the greatest rockbgands in our days. im honored that i will see 'em live in switzerland at the openair frauenfeld!!
    Mando Diao is awesome! I first heard them a few years back and now i'm hooked. What sucks though is that their american tours never bring them near my town
    I can play the Long before rock n roll for hours, damn catchy!
    I wish they would spend more time in the UK because people really dont know what they are missing.
    Mr. Moon
    I agree! I can't believe they haven't conquered the word yet! It's really up to you americans. Tell everyone you know about Mando and help them get that US breakthrough which they deserve!!! It might help mentioning their Conan O'Brien gig on May 25!!!
    Yeah.. ive been listening to Mando Diao for a few years.. but then im from Sweden =). It was nice that you gave them an article, i like many of the english garage rock bands, and Mando Diao just got the same class. I know they are pretty big in Japan and China =).. Those who like Ode to ochrasy should deffo check out the album Hurricane Bar! By many their best..
    Mando Diao are the best band in the world after Oasis. Hurricane Bar and Bring `em in are nothing shorty of a work of art. HOW HAS THIS BAND NOT TAKEN OVER THE WORLD YET!?
    Mando Diao is a great band. I think their old albums are even better
    These guys sound pretty good, I might have to have a listen...
    damn,in 2012 and I'm still looking for reviews on this album. Their songs are so catching!