Treading softly in the footsteps of Lykki Li and Oh Land, Foreign Slippers is the latest Scandinavian female artist to grab our attention. However, from the opening bars of Farewell To The Old Ghosts, it’s clear that singer-songwriter Gabi Froden is less influenced by her European background that you might imagine, having produced a debut album that sounds as if it’s been shipped straight from the States.
The opening track is rather appropriately called ‘It All Starts Now’, and begins simply enough with an acoustic guitar and vocals, setting the pace for the rest of the album. Tracks like ‘Two People In You’ and ‘Island’ are constructed from simplified classical riffs, which act as a perfect foil to Froden’s pensive, haunting vocals. ‘Old Ghosts’ is incredibly radio-friendly, with Froden using her mesmerising voice to the full throughout the verses which then burst into an energetic, piano-led refrain.
As the album progresses, there is a shift in tone towards a darker, more obscure sound. ‘Throw The Lot In’ and ‘Dead Inside’ add a burlesque element; the pair of songs combining to form a percussion-driven lament, their exaggerated syncopation stylishly steering the album briefly away from its pop-friendly territory before returning to a lighter, quieter mood for the final two songs.
Throughout the twelve tracks, Froden displays a knack for writing songs that have a delicate, nostalgic charm, and balance on a knife-edge between upbeat and downbeat, skipping rapidly through a spectrum of moods with an almost schizophrenic changeability. Farewell To The Old Ghosts is reminiscent of Karen Elson’s The Ghost Who Walks; both in the country influences and the slightly macabre lyrics (not to mention the similarity in titles). It’s also hard not to draw comparisons with Cat Power. Still, if the shoe fits…