If you didn't know The Cardigans were Swedish before, their fifth release Long Gone Before Daylight would tip you off. It's a depressive slog through the relationship minefields, as bleak and beautiful as an Ingmar Bergman treatise. Those not familiar with the band think they're a pop confection based on the "Lovefool" ditty of a few years back. But their last release, 1998's Gran Turismo, was a dark dance-pop affair that killed their commercial prospects in the U.S., and LGBD, released on the tiny Koch label, won't reverse that trend. Too bad - this could catch on with the underground cabal if NPR gets behind it. But who would trust the silly blonde of "Lovefool" to put out a scathing CD of warts-and-all relationship songs? Regardless, that's what Nina Persson and her band have done, from the alienation ode that opens the CD, "Communication", to the detailed domestic abuse of "And Then He Kissed Me", to the misery-loves-company of "03:45: No Sleep". There's little relief in sight, yet the CD is bracing. Persson never seems to be wallowing in it; far from that, her deadpan normality makes her sound positively realistic, and gives the songs more edge as she never comes across as a shrieking hysteric (e.g., Courtney Love).