Thursday, January 12, 2012

Slippery as a (Swedish) fish.

Over just seven songs, Halina Larsson crafts a captivating little album. Fires and French Horns begins with the title track [a stream of which is below], a song that hews a fine line between folk-singer and pop-songwriter. Her voice is precious and breathy, and when a xylophone augments the chorus the song risks a turn to the cloying but Larsson manages to sell a line like "I've got the right way / to tell you now / I've got the right words," and with it, the song as a whole. Though sadly, there are no French Horns to be heard.

Fires and French Horns- Halina Larsson by HalinaLarsson

Larsson's voice takes on a dusky tone on "Puget Sounds;" the record's quiet standout. The snare provides a lolloping beat that matches the efforts of the song's protagonist to pull her lover onward in their relationship. While it's not as out-and-out country as Barton Hollow, "Puget Sounds" reminds me of some of The Civil Wars' work, especially "I've Got This Friend," and "Falling."

More so than The Civil Wars, Larsson's music reminds me of Sophie Zelmani and her self-titled debut. That's a name that might ring a distant bell for some, but is likely a stranger to most (this despite having released eight albums since her debut in 1996 and an appearance on the My Best Friend's Wedding soundtrack). A fellow Swede, AllMusic described Zelmani's music as "tender singer/songwriter country" and that's likely a descriptor that will be attached to Larsson at some point if it hasn't been already.

You can purchase Fires and French Horns at Larsson' Bandcamp page, and be sure to visit her website for more info.

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