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Sensual eclectic pop from
Swedish couple

The Tiny - Gravity & Graces
(Determine Records)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Dec. 25, 2009
The Tinye

Review by Tony Bonyata

Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden the indie-duo of Ellekari Larsson (vocals/piano) and Leo Svensson (cello), also known as The Tiny, have just released their third full-length album entitled Gravity & Grace. On it the couple channel the eclecticism and shadowy theater of English songbird Kate Bush, while also incorporating elements of classical, ambient and pop music into a complex and cohesive whole.

Although the symmetry and union of Larsson's piano and Svensson's cello throughout these 10 tracks are sparse and minimal, the passion and soul manage to burrow deep within the listener's psyche. This is due not only to their inventive song structures and lighter-than-air musical arrangements (thanks, in part, to former Talk Talk bassist Paul "Rustin Man" Webb's production), but also by Larsson's wonderfully ethereal and animated vocals. Channeling both Bjork and Kate Bush's vocal styles, her wispy, playful voice teases listeners like a mischievous child, while also manifesting itself beyond the realms of the physical recording to actually reach out and touch the listener - which it does extremely well.

On the hauntingly sensual love sonnet "I Close My Eyes" Larsson's voice skips and spins over the simple yet melodically majestic chorus with the airy grace of a ballerina, while an eerie effect is created through the pairing of glockenspiel, swirling strings and hypnotic, wind-up vocals on the track "Too Heavy A Burden," lending a sense of surrealism somewhere between a Lewis Carroll fantasy and Tim Burton film production. Every single song on this effort shines in its own right - both flirting like a moth to a flame and hovering in mid-air with the still grace of a hummingbird. Even the bonus track - a wonderfully reworked version of The Ramones' "Pet Sematary" - becomes their own as they turn down the full-on punk aesthetic in favor of their own slightly creepy arrangement of simplistic plinking piano, disorienting strings and Larsson's high-pitched warbling.

As graceful as this effort is from this Swedish couple, even the force of gravity can't keep these engaging songs from floating effortlessly into its listener's consciousness.

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