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Frozen Jungle Entertainment

Frozen Jungle Entertainment
(I Like Records)

Brighton-based Swedish songwriter Fredrik Kinborm is another in a long, long line of medium-fi artists who sculpt guitars and a usual arsenal of instruments (cheap keyboards, bass, percussion, random noise) into downright hummable tracks. More produced than old Elliot Smith work (but less sweeping than his new work) and slightly more controlled than the wildly swinging Badly Drawn Boy, Frozen Jungle Entertainment is one of those records that sounds like it could have been recorded on a back porch or in a bedroom somewhere, but was in fact pieced together in three different countries on two different continents.

Such is the life of a world-travelling musician, and Kinborm has a sort of unforced delivery and natural sound that it rolls through despite the somewhat globetrotting recording sessions. The album opens with "Coincidence Rocket Ride," and the strong track is both a good thing and a bad thing as the first step. Mixing tablas and steel drums for percussion in a surprisingly subtle way, rough acoustic guitars jangle along with an infectious energy as Kinbom multi-part vocals. The energy that the track has is never quite repeated on the rest of the disc, and while there are some strong tracks that arrive, nothing quite captures that initial feeling again.

Elsewhere, the album moves in different directions, as on the quiet contemplation of "The Refugee" (which might even appeal to fans of such laid-back fare as Simon and Garfunkel), while "Frozen Jungle" mixes layers of acoustic guitar with a recording of crickets and the sounds of night. "Turning The Telly At Dawn" comes close to bringing some swagger into things again with a thick rhythm section (including a double bass). Although one track runs a long in the tooth, Kinbom also knows to keep things fairly concise for the most part. At under 40 minutes in 10 tracks, it's a quick and mostly enjoyable jaunt that pulls some excellent tracks out of a genre that's been mined for decades.

Rating: 6.25