Sweden has contributed its share of sugar to pop music. First, Abba churned out candy-coated harmonies and a string of hopelessly catchy hits during the ’70s. By the end of the next decade, Roxette’s Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson were the Swedes to rock to. More recently, Ace of Base, Abba’s photogenic heir, has dominated the airwaves—and stolen some of Roxette’s chart thunder—with bubblegum world pop.
Now Roxette returns with a fourth album of potentially guilty pleasures. Drive-time throwaways like “Sleeping in My Car” and “I Love the Sound of Crashing Guitars” sport write-them-in-your-sleep hooks, while psychedelic grand ambitions set in on the Beatles-esque “Love Is All.” As with the duo’s previous work, Crash! Boom! Bang! hits its best notes when Fredriksson is at the mike. Her vocals on the ballads “Run to You,” “What’s She Like” and the title song are more subtle and graceful than her partner’s grating, affected rasp. Alas, Roxette’s sweet flavor doesn’t last very long. Soon after the record’s over, some Ace of Base tune will probably be spinning in your head again. (EMI)