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Having your Dictaphone fail on you in the middle of a celebrity interview is embarrassing; not even managing to get it to start is really embarrassing. I'm frantically pressing the erase button on my tiny Song VOR, to no effect, when Magnus Sveningsson The Cardigan's burly, but softly-spoken bassist - says: "We had a song called Erase and Rewind." Oh my God. As well as being technically inept, he thinks I might not know his songs. I ponder singing the hit I played over and over and over again when Gran Turismo - their fourth multi-platinum album - was on constant rotation on my CD player in the late '90s, but decide I've suffered enough embarrassment for one day.

To publicise the release of The Cardigans' new album, Super Extra Gravity, I'm today honoured with the presence of lead singer Nina Peerson, guitarist Peter Svensson and the aforementioned Magnus Sveningsson - who remains largely silent throughout the rest of the interview. The other two members of the band, Bengt and Lasse, tend to sit out these press calls, preferring to let their music do the talking. Up close, Nina is as beautiful as you'd expect - all smoky eyes and sexy voice. But, while she might be the recognisable face of the group, the others don't defer to her. Pushed to define how the dynamics of the fivesome work, they suggest maybe "siblings". However, having been together for some 11 years, they talk of schedules and "compromise" and have grown out of the "romanticised creative process of late nights sitting around drinking wine". These days, with marriages, children and solo projects to fit into the mix, The Cardigans is a day job; albeit one they love and cherish.

The Cardigan's last album, Long Gone Before Midnight, failed to set the charts alight in the UK - something the band put down to it being not so commercial, but the experience has made them pragmatic about success. "We've done our job," says Nina, "and we worked really hard, but we can't buy our own records." They acknowledge they could take out round-the-clock expensive adverts, could trail the award shows, the red carpets. Instead, they'll go home to Sweden, watch their record sales and, next year, hit the gigging circuit. You have to hear the new album to realise they've nothing to worry about.

Despite their massive worldwide success and the millions of albums they've sold, The Cardigans remain strangers to the door-tagging tactics of the paparazzi. "Sweden is proud of our success," says Magnus. "They look after us." Peter too seems completely befuddled by Britain's obsession with celebrity. "In these days of reality TV, it seems the more famous the person, the crapper the project. Nina was showing us these pictures of Jordan. She is famous for her tits?" he asks - confusion swept across his face. He might not know who Jordan is, but he knows how to write good music and so, why you're unlikely to see The Cardigans on the front of OK! any time soon, their place at the top of the charts is assured.
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