Following on from the expertly-twined strands of melodic Nordic folk and post-Four Tet electronica inside the Trilogi collection and the ‘80s 4AD atmospherics folded within the Origami 7” EP, both released last year, the Sweden-based trio of Fredrik Hultin, Ola Lindefelt and – recent recruit – Anna Moberg, return with a third Fredrik long-player that drives off into more abstract avenues. Although reportedly recorded in a ‘secluded 19th century garden shack,’ the newly-planted Flora feels like the least organic and vintage sounds indebted Fredrik release to date. Gone are many of the sub-surface acoustic layers and some of the haunting ululating vocals that delightfully defined Trilogi, in favour of chiming electronically-manipulated percussive beds, less forthright vocals and even looser compositional structures.
The trio are clearly finding a collaborative approach that seamlessly merges their musical personalities into locked-together grooves and filmic scene-setting. The three-as-one galvanising manifests itself particularly well on the opening wordless shimmer of “Ylva,” the polyrhythmic brass-enhanced “Vattenfront,” the marching strides of “Chrome Cavities,” the baroque-shaded “Naruto And The End of the Broken Ear” and the Isan-like throbbing of “I’m Pretty Sure He Said Killdren.” In fact, absorbing the songs individually there are no real disappointments, yet taken as a whole there is perhaps an indistinct overall character that does become a little wearying it is repetition and lack of solidification. Taken in small doses then, Flora is another positive and plaintive progression for Fredrik that will surely satisfy pre-existing converts. Next time around though, a few harder creative decisions may be required to sustain continuous affection.