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Frida Hyvönen - Until Death Comes

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Artist: Frida Hyvönen

Album: Until Death Comes

Label: Secretly Canadian

Review date: Nov. 6, 2006

Frida Hyvönen’s Until Death Comes was originally released in 2005 on Licking Fingers, home of The Concretes, and was produced by Jari Haapalainen, who is also responsible for The Concretes’ self-titled album and Camera Obscura’s Let’s Get out of the Country. You’d be forgiven for coming to Until Death Comes with strong expectations, the right connections in place, a serious case of gilded by association.

Well, sorry to break your heart: Until Death Comes falls short of this listener’s great hopes. Though a decent songwriter, Hyvönen is mostly unable to move beyond a simplistic, plodding rhythm that ‘gifts’ each song with the same monotone drag: one piano chopping out clumpy chords, some reflective or documentarian lyrics, a sweet voice with just enough edge to keep you from falling off your chair and into sleep.

Indeed, that’s the problem with Until Death Comes: call it potential untapped. Hyvönen’s voice hints at an expressive power seriously delimited by the mundanity of her arrangements. Which is not to say piano-and-voice contexts are inherently tedious, but Hyvönen doesn’t possess the faculties to either transcend that bare framework or access its emotionally resonant possibilities. There’s one genuinely great song here, “Come Another Night”, arranged for a full group, which suggests Hyvönen would do well to move beyond the restrictions of the album’s denuded settings. In the meantime, I’ll be filing Until Death Comes away under ‘so close yet so far’…

It’s getting crowded in there.

By Jon Dale

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