Rough Trade, 2007

Fill up a glass of red wine, put on Open Field, take a seat down in a comfy chair and enjoy the debut of Taken By Trees, a delicate album that allows Victoria Bergsman’s voice to shine.

The former lead-singer of the Concretes has created a very individual album with a little help from her friends: John Eriksson from Peter Bjorn and John, Electrelane’s Verity Susman and Andreas Söderström from Ass contributed by playing vibraphone, marimba, guitar, piano and singing backing vocals. While Björn Yttling (also from PB & J) fresh from producing the latest Shout Out Loud’s album, co-produced the album with Victoria. Despite this support there is no doubt that it is Bergsman’s project with her fragile and unique voice leading the way.

The album feels like it has been stripped bare, leaving only the most necessary instrumentation for each song. “Sunshine Lady” is a good example of this, with only mandolin accompanying the vocals. A weary, delicate sound is created to match Bergsman’s voice and the result is a beautiful, hopeful song. With flute, violin and glockenspiel an oriental touch is created heard in “Open Fields” and “Cedar Trees”. The former song, invoking memories of blossoming cherry trees, is probably the warmest song on the album.

The rest of the songs are quite similar and are more subdued, barring the standout “Julia”. Its lyrics seem very personal to Victoria given her shy nature, with phrases such as “you are not the talking kind,” and “…singing songs, doing it on your own.”

The debut of Taken By Trees is a pleasant experience and for those who love Bergsman’s unique voice will find it a real treat. This scaled back, soft album does not necessarily leave you with a strong impression, but it’s enjoyable just the same.