London

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London’ – Frida Hyvönen
From Silence Is Wild (Secretly Canadian)

If Chris T-T’s Capital was one of the finest two albums of 2008, then Frida Hyvönen’s exquisite Silence Is Wild was easily the other.

I admit that I had not picked up on her before reading Everett’s effusive review in the December edition of Plan B. A double page spread. Captivating illustration. A full page of words with all the right reference points (Laura Nyro, ABBA, Herman Dune, Beat Happening, The Concretes) and ending with the words “Album of the year. No Question.”

It was enough to pique my interest, which in itself is unusual for music journalism these days. Perhaps I am just getting old, falling out of step or something. I don’t know. But no. Wait. Silence Is Wild. Oh yes.

So many delights. Everett has them all covered and does so with eloquence and charm. What’s to add? Well, maybe just that the ABBA angle could be pushed further; or The Concretes one, whichever. The Pop one, anyway. For there could be a temptation to cloak Silence Is Wild in that dreary ‘authentic’ garb. The one that’s all neutral tones, faux-rural infatuations and facial hair misadventures. Frida Hyvönen is too strangely glamorous for that though; too genuinely seductively eccentric in all the best ways. And thankfully incapable of being bearded. One hopes. Instead she reminds me of Cristina or Jayne Casey. Or, to get back to ABBA, that ever so slightly gloomy tinge of the coming night that permeated The Visitors. Know what I mean? And, hmm, to throw in another reference, what about Pearls Before Swine, to whose magical ‘The Jeweller’ I hear nods and winks in the melancholic ‘My Cousin’? Ashes to ashes. And if This Mortal Coil were to make a record in 2009, Frida Hyvönen would be a shoe-in for membership.

And then there is ‘London’.  The song that took grip of my December and whirled it around the dancefloor of my mind, coat-tails swishing and swooping as it went. So swiftly embedded as one of the great songs of the city, up there already with Caetano Veloso, Janet Kay and Barbara Ruskin. The phrasing, the words held just so, and ‘London’ itself expressed in that way that only Scandinavian blondes can do; the just so slightly over-balanced and stretched vowels. Such exquisite aches, the delight of the love that loves to love, love.

“The way you hate me is better than love / And I’m head over heels” Oh and I’m head over heels. I am. Oh, I am. How could I not be?

Song of the year. No question.

Album of the year. No question.

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