Written during a year of isolation in a tiny town in Sweden’s far north, Frida Hyvönen’s second album Silence Is Wild is a lush concoction of piano, strings, choirs, and synths.
Written during a year of isolation in a tiny town in Sweden’s far north, Frida Hyvönen’s second album Silence Is Wild is a lush concoction of piano, strings, choirs, and synths. This is in stark contrast to her debut Until Death Comes, winner of the 2006 Stockholm Prize for music, which was lean and percussive, with Frida’s distinctive pounding piano and direct lyrics.
In 2007, Until Death Comes was a Triple R Album of The Week and first single I Drive My Friend gained high rotation on Triple J. Silence Is Wild, however, threatens to eclipse that success with its dynamic full band production, ambitious arrangements and some of the catchiest songs you’re ever likely to hear.
Antecedents like Carole King, or contemporaries such as Antony and the Johnsons, are appropriate enough touchstones for discussing her music, but really, Frida forges her own path. Gorgeous album opener Dirty Dancing switches the Catskills for her Swedish hometown of Umea, and replaces Patrick Swayze with a childhood love who later became a chimney sweep.
Then comes December, a simple, almost banal song about abortion that shows Frida at her most restrained, and her most heartbreaking. On Pony, she dons leather boots and a stiff black whip to prove her mastery over a pony with “great eager lips”, exploring the power dynamics of horse-loving teenage girls to decidedly disconcerting effect.
Silence is Wild is the next step in Frida’s utterly modern approach to classic songwriting, blending the confessional with the fictional, mixing wit with a sensuality that shifts from the refined to the raw. All the while, her songs dance effortlessly between time- less and contemporary, referencing high art and pop culture in a manner that puts Frida at the top of a new international class of singer- songwriters.