“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”. Wise words, and ones that spring to mind when I think of receiving parcels of review discs in the post. Since I’ve been reviewing records, I’ve grown accustomed—almost addicted—to the kind of anticipation these packages bring when they drop through the letterbox. It’s rarely the case that there’s something specific I’ve asked to hear, so that doesn’t explain it. No, more often than not, I choose to be given random selections, each cache bringing with it a slim but ever-present possibility that something special might come my way. Occasionally “special” means something I hear which, while never going to set the world aflame, I immediately forge a strong personal attachment to, not just in terms of liking a record, but also somehow beginning to feel almost connected to it. In September 2008, Foreign Slippers’ debut EP Oh Death was one such example.
Everything drew me in, from the fascinatingly odd name Swedish singer-songwriter Gabrielle Frödén chose for her project to the crisp, frail and perplexing cover art. These factors, added to the mystique of not having a clue as to the music’s sound, intensified my hunch that there was something exciting to be heard here. My hunch was confirmed, of course, and however positive my review, sometimes you get an urge to spread the word further. If this post has an aim, that is simply it—to once more unreservedly recommend the bewitching spell of Foreign Slippers, of Oh Death and It All Starts Now, Frödén’s almost-as-wonderful free sequel EP from last year.
It was Frödén’s voice to struck me first—the very antithesis of a blunt instrument, it is delicate but incredibly purposeful, like the vocal equivalent of a surgical scalpel. It is the taut, emotional nature of the songs, delivered with this wonderful voice, which gives Foreign Slippers’ songs their incredible sense of tension; Frödén is a tightrope walker, her songs are a fine wire she traverses; even the gentle waltz of “Don’t Go” from Oh Death is turned into an almost agonising experience.
Similarly agonising is the state I find myself in now; the It All Starts Now EP is old news, and the Foreign Slippers MySpace lies dormant. We’ve all experienced this lull, and the uncertainty it brings: either things will continue this way, the project will fall by the wayside, or one day it will explode back into life. Maybe a new EP, or better still, a full-length album, the one I’ve been awaiting since my first listen of the bewitching chorus to “Packed the Car”. Either way, if you’ve yet to be spellbound by Foreign Slippers, there is no time like now.
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