Deborah Henriksson – Traces

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From Sweden Classical vocalist Deborah Henriksson has just released a new 12 track catalogue entitled “Traces” in 2014.

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At first glance this is a powerful album title and concept. This marks the artist’s fourth release and is cut from the same cloth as Faun, Altan, Elane, Azam Ali, Cocteau Twins, Iggy Azalea and even Lorde.

As a music fans aficionado who’s strictly a voyeur, a writer who’s never played a lick or tried to fit different musical components together into a cohesive whole, I’m intrigued by the idea of a centerpiece band rotating around a singer/ songwriter/vocalist like Henriksson. This established star is somewhat of a musical force to be reckoned with. As if releasing many impressive songs/CD’s over the last few years isn’t enough. Listening sporadically to her previous work I think it’s safe to say this is clearly above average music. Henriksson has managed to hit a home runs in the past via older works after doing some initial research on her. Bottom Line: Deborah Henriksson releases good music! “Traces” is pretty much a masterpiece of complexity and adventurous depth proving once again that good Alternative Vocal Folk need not be taken too seriously – but never to be taken too lightly. Henriksson achieves her own distinctive voice in significant part by featuring the unique voice at the core of all these songs. I could listen to her sing all day. At the same time with a plethora of instrumentation that many impressive session players can dish out – all making for a unique sonic experience altogether. The ultimate beauty of this collection is clearly Henriksson herself, the way she so weaves her ever lamenting voice in and out of the foreground of all these tracks. She plays a significant role on numbers like “”Eveline” and “Only You” and the brilliant closing statement “Calling”. Then taking the spotlight on more straight forward “Evening Star” and the title track and stunning “Fallen Disguise” and jazzier/soulful “Soulscape”. Indeed Henriksson clearly feels equally as comfortable powering through the modern alt-rock grooves of the former as tiptoeing through the more contemplative, sonic alternative punk contrails of the latter. In this musical environment she finds the seam between the two approaches, delivering a steady interlude of music in the midst of musical chaos making for a sizzling CD.

Much of the songs unfold in similar fashion as Henriksson and crew alternate solo/duo meditative moments with deftly executed, often-challenging rocked out syncopation. If she wrote all these then she could be a bigger talent than any of us could realize at the moment. They are all quite remarkable players, composers and performers as well. Deborah Henriksson also reminds me of: Florence and the Machine, Heather Nova, Muse, Oasis, Interpol and White Lies. Vocally she has a very strong tonality and at times balanced intensity. She’s never over the top with her singing thus always in the context of the piece, with emotions compatible with the score. I cannot overstate that the common thread throughout all of these pieces is Henriksson’s voice via some adventurous playing. Henriksson provides the strong and radiant musical foundation.

“Traces” courageously explores the boundaries between modern alt-rock and clever singer/songwriter folk with uncommon subtlety and well executed grace.


Brett Wakefield. Approved by Cyrus Rhodes.

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