Frida Hyvönen

Until Death Comes (Secretly Canadian)

Sweden's continuing export of solemn singer-songwriters isn't showing any signs of slowing up. Like her copatriot counterparts Jose Gonzalez and Jens Lekman, Frida Hyvönen is a loner; a stripped-down ivory tickler, who maybe falls somewhere between our own Fiona Apple and Tori Amos. But while she croons like the aforementioned, and composes soft, jazz-tinged piano melodies (no, not like Norah Jones' "jazz") she doesn't come off bitter or boring, though she does harbor a complex side. Mostly, she's musing about weirdo sexual encounters- masked perfectly behind her voice, making her seemingly innocent. She's not. She's astutely aware of the perils of seduction on the cock-teasing "Once I Was a Teenaged Child." Disaster ensues when friends become lovers on the bouncy "I Drive My Friend." Women, too, become lovers, and hangovers ensue (literally). Hyvönen is at her best when she's all alone; there are a few cuts that are beefed up with a backing band of sorts, but a certain rawness comes across when it's just her and the piano. If this song and dance seems familiar, it might be—but somehow Until Death Comes is much more than your run-of-the-mill "I got burned" record.

 
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