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East of Eden

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Album Review

East of Eden's back-story is the stuff of movies. Following the release of Taken by Trees' 2007 debut, Open Field, Victoria Bergsman and her trusty recording engineer, Andreas Söderström, traveled to Pakistan to record TBT's second album. They had to battle for a travel visa; the Swedish government warned them that travel to Pakistan was dangerous. Which it was — Bergsman was literally carried off by some locals shortly after the duo arrived in Pakistan; the fact that she was an unmarried woman evidently made her public property. Söderström saved her by posing as her husband, and thus disguised, Söderström and Bergsman went on to team up with an influential musician named Malik to record this album. It's probably the last thing indie pop fans would expect from Bergsman, who's best known for her sugary work with the Concretes and Peter Bjorn and John, and, oddly enough, East of Eden is probably stronger simply because it's such a wild tangent. Like Open Field, East of Eden is a richly atmospheric album — the main difference is in temperature. Compared to TBT's chilly first album, East of Eden provides a warm, vibrant listen; lush with rounded, organic Pakistani-influenced sounds, this is perhaps the happiest-sounding sustained work Bergsman has produced since her departure from the Concretes. It also sounds a whole lot like Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion, an influence that Bergsman is not at all shy about. Noah Lennox makes an appearance on one of the album's standout tracks, the pleasantly loopy "Anna," and there's even a minimalist, half-grinning cover of Animal Collective's "My Girls" (appearing here as "My Boys"). East of Eden shouldn't be chalked up as a kind of mini-Merriweather, though. Even though she's borrowed a lot here — from Animal Collective, from Pakistani music — Bergsman manages to give it all a tender, sad-yet-sprightly touch that's completely her own.


Born: Sweden

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Having served as the group's enigmatic, melancholy frontwoman for over a decade, Victoria Bergsman left the Concretes in 2006 following the release of the group's sophomore album, In Colour. "We'd started to lose our playfulness," she said in an interview with Plan B Magazine's Everett True. "It had become too much of a business." Her departure also came on the heels of the much-hyped release of "Young Folks," the first single from Peter Bjorn and John's third album, which featured Bergsman as a...
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East of Eden, Taken By Trees
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