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Elin IvarssonElin Ivarsson
Album: Elin Ivarsson
Label: Hidden Trail
Tracks: 10

Swedish singer-songwriter Elin sings with a light, sweet and breathy tone, sometimes barely more than a whisper and at other times strong and direct with a much rougher flavour. Her native Swedish accent often breaks through but the content of the songs feels very much at home in Brighton where she now lives. There is humour in her observations of life and her surroundings. She is clearly an accomplished guitarist and the fingerpicked chords of the nylon guitar are the perfect backdrop for her voice.

The opening track, 'Leaving Song' is a gentle start, with light, bright piano and fingerstyle guitar but this is turned on its head with a full chorus of voices and swelling strings. This cheery accompaniment contrasts wonderfully with the sentiment of the chorus in which Elin laments the thought of being alone but weighs this up as a more favourable option than continuing to suffer her current company. This humour underlies much of this collection of songs.

As the album progresses, Elin's classical guitar sensibilities and the varied thematic material present the listener with a great assortment. In 'Norbotten' the guitar chords have a hint of Ennio Morricone and his Western scores whereas, in contrast, 'Luka' has the quality of a moody waltz. The low strings help to emphasise this gloomy sound. 'Sunday 5am' is just that little bit different again as Elin muses on the sights and sounds of a world on the brink of stirring just before the sun climbs into view. She drifts through references to Poe and even a bit of Well Tempered Clavier in this piece rich in honed descriptive language.

In 'No Name' and 'Laurels', Elin proves that although she is a singer songwriter, she isn't afraid of big instrumental textures. String arrangements reminiscent of the writing of Vyvienne Long shine through alongside the return of the chorus of voices heard early on whilst bass lines walk throughout and support a bright violin solo

Lee Cuff