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Flash Caravan

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Album Review

Tove Nilsen's debut album deserved more international attention than it garnered. A powerful if lightly uneven album of art pop, it bridges a gap between the Kate Bush of Hounds of Love and the Björk of Debut by way of a side trip into country-folk. Nilsen has penned all the songs and plays keyboards, acoustic guitar, and percussion. Anders Engen handles drums, plus some bass and keyboard work, while Erland Hansen takes on guitar, bass, and programming duties, in addition to producing the album. If the electronics occasionally become quite elaborate, all the arrangements revolve around Nilsen's voice: seductive, flexible, and with an element of danger. She is not as off the wall in her delivery as Björk (although her influence is strongly felt in the majestic "Fall"). Instead, she evokes the sensuous calm and strange oddity of the Remote Viewers' Louise Petts. References to Tori Amos (circa Under the Pink) and Portishead complete the kaleidoscopic picture. Highlights include the aforementioned "Fall," the gripping "Like a Boy," and the country-flavored "Jordan" — placed at the midpoint in the album, coupled to the likeminded "Fingerprint," and wrapped in the same electronics, it doesn't feel so out of place. "Breaking the Girl" ends the album almost gospel style, which is a bit more disturbing. But Nilsen's voice can smooth any inconsistency. And so it does. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Flash Caravan, Tove Nilsen
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