June 06, 2005

David Fridlund "Amaterasu"

David Fridlund is the leader of David & The Citizens, one of Sweden's last best-kept secrets. With his band, he makes catchy, interesting and intelligent guitar-pop that's quite enjoyable and highly literate. It's no real surprise that the band's received a heap of critical acclaim, and it's not surprising that they've won music awards, either. With a current wave of excellent Swedish bands finding moderate success in America, it's probably only a matter of time until David & The Citizens joins the ranks of Shout Out Louds, The Cardigans and The Soundtrack of Our Lives.

Until that happens, Fridlund has seen fit to release a solo debut album. Amaterasu is a pretty, lush record that's a bit different than David & The Citizens. While his full-band arrangements draw comparison to Bright Eyes, by himself, Fridlund sounds not unlike Clem Snide's Eef Barzelay, with more than a hint of Ben Folds. Unlike Folds, Fridlund never gets lost in too-clever lyrics or sappy sentiment. He's got a knack for turning a phrase, and he can write a hooky song--witness "April & May" or the jaunty "Busride & Carsick," both of which bounce along with a nice piano-driven rhythm that's instantly contageous. Let's not overlook the boogie-woogie instrumental "Knives," either. When he slows down the pace on the gorgeous "Insomnia" (where he's accompanied by Sara Culler) and the simple, heartfelt "Satellite" and "Then I Will Miss You," he reveals himself to be a quite captivating balladeer.

Amaterasu is a simple, enjoyable record, full of excellently written pop songs and piano ballads, sung by a musician who deserves your attention. Whether or not David & The Citizens propels Fridlund to the attention of music lovers around the world, Amaterasu proves that he's capable of conquering the world on his own.

--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.thecitizens.nu
Label Website: http://www.parasol.com

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