Anna Ternheim : Halfway To Fivepoints

<img src="" alt=" " />Swedish songstress Anna Ternheim makes it all the way over to the States with her beautiful new release, <em>Halfway To Fivepoints</em>....
7.2 Decca

 Swedish songstress Anna Ternheim makes it all the way over to the States with her beautiful new release, Halfway To Fivepoints. Acclaimed in her native country, winning the ‘Grammyjury’ (Sweden’s Grammy) for ‘Best Newcomer’ in 2005 with Somebody Outside, and ‘Best Female Artist’ and ‘Best Lyricist’ in 2007 for Separation Road, Ternheim now follows Sweden’s ever-growing list of musical exports to the U.S. with Halfway To Fivepoints.  Her wonderful voice and harmonious sound carries well along the transatlantic currents, and is sure to find a place in America.

Halfway is in some ways a ‘compilation album’, as it is composed of tracks from prior releases, with over half of the record coming from Separation Road.  It starts with the high and full strings opener in “Girl Laying Down”, from Road, but the piece then goes into more of an opera hall-haunt, mixing in the grand.  That combination of haunting and grand keeps up throughout the record, giving the feel of a single woman filling an old concert hall with her sound.

Ternheim gets grandest with middle piece “To Be Gone”, the sole track from Somebody – and a good choice at that.  “Gone” is not just encompassing but also sly and knowing, yet never loses that touch of emotion.  Between “Girl” and “Gone” lay the atmospheric, even misty “Bridges”, the more alt-country “Today Is A Good Day”, the slightly too touching “Little Lies”, and the sadder “Such A Lonely Soul”, whose low-key story-telling really enchants.

Unfortunately, after “Gone”, Ternheim slips a bit with two Road pieces, “No Subtle Men” and “Lovers Dream”.  “Men”, a slow number, stripped just to Ternheim’s vocals and piano, is good but not great; the stripped-down effect is done better later on, with the vox + acoustic guitar of “You Mean Nothing To Me Anymore”.  “Dream”, a duet with Fyfe Dangerfield of England’s Guillemots, is meant to be grand and meaningful, but comes off as kind of forced.

However, that all falls by the wayside with the third Road song, “The Ones They Blame”.  It has Ternheim’s trademark haunting touch, but there’s also a low-key press to the piece.  That low-key drive shows up again in the small and quiet eponymous finisher (another Road piece).  However, the penultimate “Black Widow” is a lilting nature-nice composition, complete with recorder, that comes off as somewhat lame.

While some tracks certainly make more of a splash than others, Halfway To Fivepoints is a strong introduction for Ternheim to the U.S. of A.  Currently on tour in America with fellow Swedish sirens El Perro Del Mar (QRO album review) and Lykke Li (QRO album review), in what is sure to be the prettiest – and blondest – line-up around, Anna Ternheim is singing her way into American hearts.

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