Wednesday, May 19, 2010

pop*eye...Tobias Fröberg - The Big Up (2010)


Tobias Fröberg
The Big Up (2010)

The Big Up Back home in Sweden, The Big Up is pop artist and producer Tobias Frobergs fourth album. The first came out in 2004 and was nominated for a Swedish indie grammy – and during this period, Tobias toured a lot with fellow swede José Gonzalez. The second album (Somewhere in the city) came out in 2006 and was released in the UK by legendary Alan McGee (Oasis, Glasvegas etc) on McGees own label Poptones, in the states by Cheap Lullaby Records and in France by PIAS – and in around 25 other countries. This album got amazing reviews everywhere. UK magazine The Words editor wrote, for example that “I..m starting to think that it might be one of the greatest albums ever made.” The third album (Turn Heads) came out 2008 (not in the UK since Alan put Poptones down right before the release) and also got really good reviews. Sweden..s most influential magazine, Sonic, gave it for example a 9 out of ten. And now it..s time for The Big Up. In Sweden, where it was released in April - were the reviews fantastic. The best critical aclaimed album for Tobias in his home territory so far. – I built it around my Hammond Organ I bought in Chicago, says Tobias. It..s a love album to my wife, Sandra. Very uplifting – and very dark. When you have everything, you have a lot to lose. It..s, to my ears, by far the best album done. Tobias also produces and writes songs to other artists. For example Peter Morén (of Peter Bjorn and John), The Cocknbullkid (new UK artist on Moshi Moshi/Island Records), Ane Brun, Theresa Andersson, Kathryn Williams, legendary artist and producer Allen Tuissaint, Existensminimum and Lisa Ekdahl. Amongst others. Tobias has had quite a few songs in commercials and tv series. The last tv thing was the very first episode of HBO:s Bored to death. In Sweden, TV4 made a serie called Blomstertid. They did something which is unique, they used only one artist for all the music; the catalouge of Tobias Froberg.

As Leave This Room climbs incandescently to devastating heights, Such Great Heights as The Postal Service once aspired to like chimneysweeps outstretched towards the vertices of pinprick spires, Tobias Fröberg coos for an unobtainable escapism from the fjords of his homelands. Quite incomprehensibly, Swedish sounds have never translated overseas all that coherently and Fröberg appears to strive against Scandinavian confines, layering vocals over vocals over fragile string sections and an endless urgency in a superficially haphazard attempt to crack the shells of those more subdued British and American scenes. Snare drums rattle through the militant gallops of When We Go To War, before expanding into an addictive chorus set to condemn the commercialism that dictates and corrupts our Western society. As violins swirl menacingly about fluctuating vintage organs like a bizarre James Bond soundtrack off-cut, Fröberg allegorically aligns the futile barbarity of conflict, against the beating hearts and longing souls involuntarily caught in its irreconcilable wake. As a producer-turned-artist in his own right, the knobs have been twiddled to the most precise of degrees, tying down the floating, lofty acoustics of I Wanna Hurt Like That to anvils strikingly reminiscent of retro pop/ soul nuggets, whilst The Skyline aches with a setting sense of melancholic disaster. Were The Big Up plugged into a life support machine, beeps and frequencies would flat-line around the unresolved strums of Sandra, before miraculously springing to life in the glorious resurrection ignited by the dying embers of the record; I Hope That I Die Before You refracts beautifully broken, almost detuned vocals over a Spector-esque Motown canvas amidst a whirlwind of passion, the sort that could only realistically be born of the sincerest of existential heartaches, before Baby Baby Baby sails away ecstatically into a sea of clashing cymbals. The Big Up may never define the musical exports of Sweden, set against compatriots along the lines of ABBA, The Knife, Jens Lekman and The Cardigans. Yet following in the footsteps of The Radio Dept., where Morrissey once quizzed How Soon Is Now, Sweden’s hours of extended daylight may well have dawned, with Fröberg dragging saccharine rays from beneath the gloom of a dusk-set horizon.



"Just magnificent!"
Music from producer Peter Bjorn and John, Tomas Andersson Wij!

the portastylistic

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