(01 November 2008) Sweden's Sofia Talvik continues to rapidly emerge as an international singer songwriter with the release of her new album Jonestown (Makaki Music (Sweden) MMSCD003, 2008). The artist was drawn this year to live performances at SXSW and Lollapalooza and plans further tours in the United States in 2009. With two full length albums and a remix collection preceding her current release, she is drawing significant attention and critical acclaim. Read the results of our interview with Sofia that accompany this review.
Sofia's first full length album, Blue Moon (Starboy Recordings (Sweden) PGMLCD50, 2005), acoustically arranged and a folk song style, serves as a good introduction to her work with her band The Tallboys. Her crystalline voice rings through in every track. The artist's second album, Street Of Dreams (Makaki Music (Sweden) MMSCD01, 2007) is the first recording on Sofia's own label. A gentle shift in style from folk to singer songwriter is evident on the album's twelve superbly arranged songs. Sofia regularly releases bonus tracks in the holiday season. A robustly arranged pop song, "Blåa linjen hem" is the stunning 2007 single.
Sofia made the vocal tracks available to remixers shortly following the album's release. The result, Street Of Dreamix, was created and made available for download from the artist's website as part of the promotional campaign. As an Art Director, Sofia places significant attention to artwork and booklets accompanying her albums. Street Of Dreams and the new release are stunning examples of her craft.
Jonestown represents yet another artistic shift in Sofia Talvik's work. The twelve track collection offers listeners richer arrangements, multi-layered harmonies and deeper insight into the artist's creativity. Her crystalline vocals soar above arrangements as the album develops into its full splendor. The material spans folk, singer songwriter and pop styles. The prerelease single from the album is the catchy and upbeat pop song "My James Dean." It follows the heartfelt delivery of the mournful opener and first single from the album, "As Summers Pass."
The album's folk songs are delivered atop light acoustic arrangements. We were especially impressed with the light instrumental backing and washes that have been used to fill out the sound. "At The End" is a stunning song that perfectly blends folk with singer songwriter elements. The purity of the superbly arranged "Something Good" balances rich instrumentals with Sofia's up front vocal delivery.
The lush guitar laced soundscape provides a contrasting backdrop to Sofia's tenderly delivered lead in the heartfelt album standout "Diamonds." The significant growth in instrumental arrangements on the album is evident in the stunning song "Burning Fields." The treatment of Sofia's vocal work on this album is superb. The electric guitar parts in "Arms and Armour" is especially illustrative of the album's growth above Sofia's earlier releases.
The crisp percussion and depth of arrangements in the bluesy "Clown" as well as harmony layers complement Sofia's soaring vocal lead. In sharp contrast, sung almost a capella with only the lightest backing, Sofia softly delivers a heartfelt lyric in the song "Lower Case Letters." The bookend track, "Summer Ended Yesterday," is more richly arranged but only slightly so.
Performed alongside strings, "Prove Me Wrong" is a gently and everso sweetly delivered singer songwriter track, Sofia's lead pushing ahead of her own harmony vocals. The album concludes with the title track. Sofia's crystalline vocals glide above acoustic guitar in this tenderly sung track. Listeners will adore the build of tension in the track as it develops.
Sofia Talvik has garnered increasing attention from all corners of the globe--from Europe to the USA to Asia--with the progressive development across her singles, full length albums and remix collections. She has active official website and equally well maintained MySpace. Jonestown demonstrates a significant artist development and an excellent launch point for the next phase of Sofia's career.