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Music Review: Tobias Froberg – Turn Heads

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Like the host of a party, Sweden’s own Tobias Froberg, invited his friends along to the sessions that eventually resulted in his latest album Turn Heads (Cheap Lullaby Records, 2008). Joined by the likes of fellow troubadour Teitur, Ane Brun, Matthias Blomdahl, Peter Moren and Britain’s own Kathryn Williams, amongst many others, Tobias also added the skills of his father Ante, renowned jazz musician, to the mix.

Spending his childhood on such a wonderful place as the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea clearly had a lasting effect on him. His music reflects that melancholic charm but is also combined with some memorable pop. Delicately written and lushly produced he has an unfailing knack of writing shining harmony and impossibly catchy choruses. The moment of destiny came when he was working on a Swedish newspaper, he was assigned to talk to none other than Ingmar Bergman for one of the last ever interviews, that same night Tobias made a monumental life changing decision. Going to a Neil Young concert gave him the inspirational push that he needed and he decided to follow his father into the field of music.

Turn Heads is the first Tobias Froberg album actually produced by the artist himself. His first release For Elisabeth, Wherever She Is (2004) was nominated for a Swedish Grammy. He built on that success with Somewhere In The City which was released in 25 countries gaining excellent reviews in the process. He went down a storm in the UK backed by Alan McGee the founder of Creation Records and Pop Tones who handled the album. His decision to turn away from journalism and put his heart and soul into music was paying off.

It is that heart and soul that brightly shines through the album Turn Heads. With it, and the American tour in support of it, he hopes to finally make himself as well known across the Atlantic. There is no reason why he cannot achieve that crossover. His style of infectious pop and mournful ballads is universally effective. In fact if anything the first track on the album, “Blissful”, creates a near illusion with its ultra-pop tempo and catchy chorus. It will have you singing along but the happy skippy feel created here leads to some far more substantial moments. “She Is Becoming Her Mother Again” a gently sloping song with piano is more representative of where Tobias takes this album. “Slipping Under The Radar” takes it back up a gear before “Just Behind A Brickwall” comes in with a beautiful slow burner that opens out into one of the Turn Heads highlights.

“Take It Easy” is almost straight out of the book of Coldplay style melancholy and is highly effective because of it. “Landing” is a soft and beautiful acoustic instrumental with violin that would be the perfect backdrop to a romantic film bringing about the odd tear. “You Are”, lifts us back out of our handkerchiefs nicely. That is until “Tomorrow” comes in, complete with its lush harmony and orchestration, it is of exceptional quality. “Miles To Go”, “Delicate Dance Of Ghosts” and “Turn Heads” all continue the atmosphere with the latter’s uplifting ending working well.

On the evidence of the song writing here Tobias Froberg should make quite an impression on his tour. Turn Heads is for fans of heart wrenching soft-rock and well-written ballads. Best described by Tobias himself as a ‘Swedish massage to your ear’. All he needs is that one breakthrough song – and who knows it might even be on here.

Tobias' Official Web Site can be found here or his Myspace Profile to listen to streaming MP3's and tour dates.

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About Jeff Perkins