This is a beautifully moving debut album. Helped by a cast of a dozen musicians, including members of her old band White Willow, Tirill Mohn has recorded an immediately seductive album of folk-pop. Her songwriting is elegant and graceful, never lowering itself to the common denominator, yet remaining easy to grasp. The arrangements are rich in Nordic folk, progressive and Gothic elements. The result is an album that sounds slightly medievalesque without surrendering to the clichés of the genre (like Blackmore's Night, for instance) or adopting a dark atmosphere. Mohn's voice is fragile, quiet, and ingenue, but she uses it very charmingly and does not hesitate on bringing in other vocalists whenever the song slips out of her range -- "Vendela," the most ambitious track, length- and arrangement-wise, features two other lead vocalists: Odd Håkon Solbakken and Sylvia Erichsen. Mohn's range of folk influences is open: the use of bouzouki, clarinet, and accordion in some tracks prevent the album from straying too close to a predictable Nordic folk sound without fragmenting the personality of the album. Most songs feature instantly hummable melodies, and instrumental backing that can turn your heart inside out ("Ruby," "Heavy Heaves," and "Winter Roses" stand out in that regard). "Vendela" is the only track leaning toward the progressive rock of White Willow (okay, the album's title also evokes a WW song, "A Dance of Shadows"). The production, on the other hand, goes far beyond the call of folk duty: electronics and effects creep in with finesse, backing vocal arrangements often include some treatment that keeps the listener attentive. In short, A Dance With the Shadows is a complete success and a revelation of Tirill Mohn's talent. It has a lot of crossover appeal. Fans of Loreena McKennitt should definitely give her a try.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture