Fredrik released their third full-length, Flora, through Kora Records in April. The Swedish duo added a third member to the electronic folk group as a way of bringing more depth to their experimental sound. Newcomer Anna Moberg provides vocals, guitar, and various analog noises which she first brought to Fredrik on their recent Origami EP. Originally started as a side project from The LK, co-founder and namesake Fredrik Hultin is responsible for lead vocals, writing lyrics, and playing guitar, alto horn, plus the piano while his counterpart Ola Lindefelt plays toms, mallets, the cello, samples, re-input electronics, and also vocals.
At the opening of the album is “Ylva” a track that has a special significance to its title. It is given an ancient feminine name native to Sweden which has turned up in documents as old as the year 1200. Ylva is a she-wolf and is followed as the main character in Fredrik’s online presentation of Flora in which the entire album is streamed on YouTube accompanied by visuals of the band’s hometown Malmö. The song itself is full of chimes and ethereal choral voices that are very light and airy that portray a magical forest type image.
The third track is the single “Chrome Cavities” that incorporates xylophone stylings sweet enough to give the listener an actual toothache. Fourth up is “Rites of Spring” which features chopped and screwed Asian-inspired string sections.
Coming toward the end is the eighth track titled “Naruto and the End of the Broken Ear.” Naruto brings to mind the ninja Anime character, but with a bit of quick internet research the word “naruto” can also signify anything from a sumo elder to a little known planet named after the Naruto Strait. The lyrics are powerfully painted with fantastic elements. Around the two minute mark is the line “It’s a double rainbow that cracks, painted green and sprayed with tears.” Implementation of the Russian balalaika gives the track a haunting feel.
Track nine, “The Shape and Colour of Things Blind,” is very pretty and conjures up a dream filled with tinkly sounds.
All in all, Flora is a strong release that takes Fredrik into a warmer direction with its music.