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Anne Lise Frøkedal has been creating and releasing music as a soloist since early last year and after gaining support from various music aficionados and radio stations, she prepares to release her debut LP Hold On Dreamer. At 34-years-old, the Norwegian songstress has no intention to vie for the pop princess crown, instead she demonstrates a worldly sophistication on this ten track song set.
Opening sonnet 'W.O.Y' finds Anne in an introspective state, humming and cooing in time with rousing string percussion and gentle rumblings of drums, a narrative like a diary entry leaves us as listeners feeling slightly intrusive. 'Cherry Trees' is far more arresting, a strong statement of what Frøkedal is able to do with both her voice and intentions, crafting a rambling, alternate celtic folk in a magnificent middle ground between Laura Marling and Arcade Fire.
Preceding single 'The Sign' has a jumbled percussive intro as all the instruments seem to simultaneously trip over each other before Anne's eminent vocal cuts through the barrage with startling clarity. There is influence of numerous alternatives through the ages present on this record, 'The Man Who Isn't Here' oozes Feist-like comparisons in vocal delivery, while its gothic art rock melodies would sit comfortably on a Lord Huron record. The album's highlight sits at its midpoint; a psychedelic and sparkling synth paired with a menacingly hypnotic drum beat make 'Misery' a bewitching anthem both Natasha Khan and Stevie Nicks would be wholly proud of.
A three-minute interlude entitled 'Dream' affects the otherwise enjoyable pace of the album as Anne performs fairly underwhelming vocal somersaults which tumble more often than balance. 'Demented Times' steers things back on track as the Scandinavian tones of Frøkedal's tender vocals shine most apparent here, accompanied by little more than gentle strings. 'Kid' penultimately brings things home in understated momentum, its position emphasises the album's engaging features, thoughtful songwriting and calculated pace. There is no need to present this ace card early on as Frøkedal manages to hold a hand made almost entirely of diamonds.
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