Music Monday: Fredrik’s Trilogi = Pretension x 3

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Fredrik
Trilogi
Kora Records

This sophomore effort by Swedish indie rockers Fredrik is actually a compilation of three EPs: Holm, Ava, and Ner, which translate roughly to “frozen forest island,” “water through sound,” and “the inside underground.” In 2006, Fredrik made a splash within the American experimental rock circuit, so Trilogi, released last week, will probably do well among Animal Collective and Sigur Rós fans. Complete with a low-fi music box, sparse mandolin, and gentle harmonies, it is ethereal and enchanting. On first listen, it rises above run-of-the-mill psych-folk sensations like the Decemberists. And yet, I’m not entirely sold.

Trilogi was my introduction to Fredrik, which is apparently its very own ethos—to the point where I half expected the musicians to break into their own elfin sister tongue. The press notes describe the record as “contemporized viewpoints of the Lovecraftian dream passage—orientation at great cost and understanding at the risk of sanity.” Huh? Each EP “was surreptitiously self-released on highly limited 3″ CDs in hand made origami packaging,” the notes explain.

They also reference a short film collaboration with Dutch film maker Iris Piers, and some music videos, so I went to the band’s website to check out the flicks. They all proved pleasantly artistic, but what’s with the wolf? And why must every indie music video include stop-motion typewriters, record players, and anthropomorphic furry animals? The genre has enough of them as is: Deerhoof, Deertick, Panda Bear, Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes, Modest Mouse, Cat Power, Grizzly Bear, and so on.

At its best Trilogi is a mystical trip into the hinterland; at its worst, a predictable foray into Swedish indie rock. If you’re all about things like wordless vocalizing, self-made instruments, and whistling, this might be for you. But if you’re more into the “rock” than the “indie,” I wouldn’t hold your breath.

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