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Starring: Someone Like You - Single

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Album Review

There isn't a genre or pat phrase that's fit to describe Sweden's the Tiny. Chamber pop might be right, if only because there's a cello involved. Cabaret might be closer, if only because Starring Someone Like You feels like the kind of music that would be played in a dimly lit piano bar. You certainly can't call it twee, though it can sound cute at times, and you'd probably want to shy away from calling it indie pop for that matter. You could really stretch and try calling it operatic post-rock, but that would just be annoying. Anyway, the point here is that the Tiny's music defies description in the best way possible, and the group's second album is a wonderfully dark elaboration on 2005's Close Enough. Where the first release came across as a detailed pencil sketch, Starring is a full-blown oil portrait, full of whorls, shadows, and odd angles. Much like the previous album, Starring delves into song material that under any other circumstances would be considered humdrum: love, personal demons, and mom. But don't let the quotidian themes fool you — this is an epic album, sweeping and theatrical one moment, spare and aching the next. Ellekari Larsson is in top form here, and her deceptively fragile voice is served well by the lushness of this new work. Less a lead singer and more a primal force of nature, she sounds something like Björk sans the biting pixie attitude or Joanna Newsom sans the little girl rasp. The singles, "Dirty Frames" and "They Say It's Weird," are intricately pieced-together worlds; they're rich with cellos and musical saws (courtesy of Larsson's partner in crime, Leo Svensson), shot through with Casio keyboard whooshes, and sprinkled with wind chimes and Stylophone blips. Other songs echo the sparseness and melancholia of the first album, especially on the heartbreaking cover of Gillian Welch's "Everything Is Free." Starring is ambitious, strange, and (especially given how quickly it came out after the first album) really well done. It could even be called brilliant, if only because it has a certain glimmering quality.


Formed: 2002 in Stockholm, Sweden

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

The Tiny vocalist and founding member Ellekari Larsson was well on her way to becoming a professional ice skater until a serious slip at age 14 sealed her fate. She hung up her skates and devoted herself to music, performing with various Stockholm-based punk and ska outfits throughout her teens. In 2002, a friend introduced her to cellist and Royal Academy of Music dropout Leo Svensson, and the two hit it off immediately. They got to work fleshing out some of Larsson's previously written songs, recruited...
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Starring: Someone Like You - Single, The Tiny
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