EVERYONE should be aware of what a miracle Swedish music is. While large in its geographical extension, that such a small country in terms of population is able to produce such an incredible number of quality acts is a wonder.
Anna Järvinen is a long-standing artist in the local scene: she was the singer in Granada, an indiepop band in the 90s, and later launched a solo career, whose personal highlights are Anna själv tredje and her latest, Vestigia Terrent.
Despite naming this album from a Horace quote (a sort of declaration of artistic independence), you are guessing right, her repertoire is sung in Swedish. The effect is not too dissimilar from Icelandish (if you are familiar with Bjork or Sigur Rós) and pairs nicely with Anna’s fairy-like timbre and her fairytale sound imagery (“Olat”).
Fuelled by a collaboration with Dungen musicians, another incredible Swedish act in the psych-rock scene, arrangements in Vestigia terrent are more elaborate and colorful in her career – but at the same time less pompous and orchestral-sounding. When it is (“Bara du kommer”), then it’s just instrumental to conveying a sense of overflowing drama and melancholy into the song.
On the contrary, in other cases (“93”) subtraction is used to the same aim. Dungen’s characteristic flute is a great, peculiar addition to the sweeping melodies in “Melodiefestival”, while their typical boisterous rhythm section takes the stage in “Ljuset”, another beautiful track on the record.
This is not to take from Anna’s songwriting, which is as dazzling as ever. “Psalm” is a new anthem, reminiscent of her “Lilla Anna”, while “Stockholm”, with its endearing whistled melody, is a new classic in the contemporary folk-pop songbook – it sounds like flying over a blooming Swedish capital.
Overall it’s a fantastic demonstration of the best the Swedish scene can produce. As a testament to the affectionate audience of Anna, the record is currently sold out in its physical form at Bandcamp; but its still available on vinyl, if you hurry, at Bengans in Sweden.
Anna Järvinen’s Vestigia Terrent is out now on Sing A Song Fighter