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A Real Life Drama

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Album Review

The Charade is something of a Swedish pop super-group, made up as they are of members of influential bands the Shermans and Happydeadmen. Their second album, A Real Life Drama, is perfect Swedish pop from the opening notes of "My Song to You" until the last vocal harmony of "Faith Floats Away." All the elements that make that country's pop so enchanting are firmly in place: the gently strummed guitars, understated vintage keyboards, sweet-as-sugar female vocals, lush vocal harmonies, well-constructed and memorable pop songs, and above all, a lightness and joy that makes it impossible to listen to records like this without a huge smile and a warm heart. Even the songs imbued with sadness and melancholy sound so lovely that you wouldn't mind playing them on a sunny day in the park. An added facet to the Charade's sound are the wonderfully blended vocals of Ingela Matsson and Mikael Matsson; she sounds even more angelic than usual when placed next to his slightly rougher tones. Every song on A Real Life Drama would be perfect for a "Best of Indie Pop 2006" mixtape, especially the lush heartbroken ballad "September," the jangling "Music Makes Me Sick," and the boppy, very '60s baroque pop-influenced "Sunny Winter Afternoon." The only fault with the album is that it breezes by far too quickly at only ten songs. You might find yourself hitting repeat over and over; the album sets the kind of free and easy mood you'll want to last all day. The Charade is one of the best Swedish pop bands around in 2006, and it's hard to find higher praise than that.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Swedish jangle pop trio the Charade is Ingela Matsson (vocals), ex-Red Sleeping Beauty and Shermans member Mikael Matsson (keyboard, bass, drums), and ex-Happydeadmen member Magnus Karlsson (guitar, vocals). Karlsson met Mikael Matsson at a party in Stockholm in 2004, and due to distance they decided to exchange recordings through e-mail. They issued two...
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A Real Life Drama, The Charade
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