Songs from 63 Degrees N

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Triakel's third album continues their quiet but intense ethos. The mix of fiddle, harmonium, and voice creates a bristling darkness, especially on the brooding "Min Docka," where singer Emma Härdelin rolls her Rs with great glee. However, they don't keep to big ballads, by any means, and in fact let in chinks of light here and there, as with "Guds Fruktan," a love song that's given a marvelously sprightly setting. Along with traditional folk songs, the backbone of their repertoire, there are recent songs like "Lihll-Pe I Floa" and hymns, which have long been a part of Nordic folk music (unlike many Western countries). The real secret with this trio is in the arrangements and chemistry between the members. There's an obvious love of the music, and in presenting it, never seeking the darkness, but teasing it out where it occurs. It's certainly not evident in the country dance of "Bli Som Far," which glides around the floor, or "Tordyveln," which morphs into a polka. However, it can't be denied that wonderful as Härdelin is, she shines best on material like "Barnamorderskan," where tragedy is all too apparent. Triakel continue to grow as masters of their craft and more -- at times positively inspired.

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