Friska Viljor – Remember Our Name (2013)

Friska Viljor_Remember Our NameI have to admit that I walked out on my first Friska Viljor show in 2008. As far as I can recall I did so because I was filling up a half hour of dead time within the festival schedule. Furthermore my harsh judgment was that the band did not impress at all and seemed uninspired. At the time, many were cyced up for this indie rock formation from Sweden who had just released their catchy debut album Bravo! (2007). Bravo! was about lost love, drinking and nightly escapades. It got a great deal of positive reviews from around the globe that justified the aforementioned buzz. In the years that followed the band proved to be very energetic, producing three full albums that I , honestly, didn’t brother to listen. It took me five years bump into the band for the second time. And yet again I was standing in on a sunlit festival field. Only now the difference was that I stayed and discovered that their live performance very energetic. Also I discovered that earlier this year Friska Viljor released their fifth album with the title Remember Our Name. That’s quite a coincidence, or isn’t it?

Remember Our Name has a playtime of just over 45 minutes and contains eleven tracks that all sound of pure happiness. It only takes one track to realize that Remember Our Name is musically a highly listenable pop album, crafted with Swedish finesse. During your first spin of Remember Our Name your head will slowly nod along with the up tempo drum and the melodious banjo. Add a jaunty organ here and a frivolous flute there and your second listen will make you unwarily hum along. And this is all the preparation you need, because from here your third spin will disembogue into a full sing along of the fleet-footed choruses. In the core this is what the band is about, cheerfulness and improvidence. Probably the track ‘Flageoletten’ sums up the whole album, its snappy, filled with a variety of horns and, indeed, ends in an easy sing along. Sing alongs can have one huge disadvantage, especially when the singers are male. Daniel Johansson and Joakim Sveningsson sing in a high pitch which becomes spasmodically annoying as the album progresses. Whilst this adds up to catchiness, this catchiness is also a weakness. Boredom lurks around the corner after a few spins. Only a small number of songs show an other side of the band. ‘Boom Boom’ is a nice synthpop song, ‘I’m Not Done’ a fragile ballad and ‘Remember My Name’ is a constructive pop song about departing from your loved ones.

Friska Viljor latest is exactly what you might expect from the band: a strong indie pop album on the whole and accessible to anyone who is in need of a fresh breeze during hot summer days. Remember My Name doesn’t goes beyond this expectation and is in fact still at the same level as Bravo! And that’s, if I may add, a high level. Nevertheless it’s also regrettable that Johansson and Sveningsson don’t bring more depth to their music. This is not due to their abilities, for both repeatedly demonstrated that they are very gifted. Instead they made the obvious choice to do what one is  good at. Festival programmers will embrace this sort of certainty, making Friska Viljor a must see at any event. So next time when I have the opportunity to see Friska Viljor again, chances are slim that I’ll walk out on them again. Better yet, I’ll be sure to bring my friends to this party.

Label: Crying Bob

Tracklist:
1. Did You Ever (2:51)
2. Stalker (3:50)
3. Bite Your Head Off (3:38)
4. Boom Boom (3:14)
5. Easy Is Hard (4:08)
6. I’m Not Done (4:20)
7. Streetlights (4:48)
8. The F (4:13)
9. Until The End (4:09)
10. Flageoletten (5:14)
11. Remember My Name (5:46)

Further surfing:
Official site
Friska Viljor on Facebook
Friska Viljor on Youtube

Review by Wander Meulemans // VOR190713

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