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ABBA's children

ABBA’s children — A look at Swedish artists from Blithe to the Cardigans

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What do major record labels have in common with IKEA? Both are betting Americans want to stuff their Volvos with Swedish product. A smorgasbord of fjord-core pop bands are currently humming the old ABBA hit ”Take a Chance on Me” to American music execs — who, in turn, are sucking them up like Swedes gobbling surstromming (fermented herring, to you foreigners). As with their precursors Roxette and Ace of Base, the current Scandy bands sing in English (a skill one group gleaned from watching subtitled American TV), thereby making them radio- and MTV-friendly. A pocket guide to our favorite Nordic track stars:

Album: Auscultate
File Under: Ranting-diva power pop ABBA
Salute: ABBA meet Elastica.
Fun Fact: Tom Cruise saved them from obscurity; their single ”So” is included on the Mission: Impossible soundtrack.

Album: The Genius of Komeda
File Under: Art-core ABBA
Salute: ABBA meet Nico and go to a new-wave film festival.
Fun Fact: Named after Roman Polanski’s leading film scorer, Kryzsztof Komeda.

The Cardigans
Album: First Band on the Moon
File Under: Lounge music
ABBA Salute: ABBA meet Burt Bacharach at a metal show.
Fun Fact: Band covers Black Sabbath’s ”Iron Man” and ”Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.”

Album: Head Is Mighty
File Under: Alt-rock guitar thrash
ABBA Salute: ABBA meet the Pixies and Dinosaur Jr. at a primal-scream therapy session.
Fun Fact: Appropriated not only U.S. rock styles but also food: While on an American tour earlier this year, repeatedly asked tour manager about which restaurants served oatmeal.