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Rickard Jäverling's second full-length album, The Valleys, is an absolute charmer, even perhaps one of the year's best releases. Jäverling's follow-up to his debut outing Two Times Five Lullaby offers an invigorating take on the folk tradition associated with figures such as Bert Jansch, John Fahey, and others. The Valleys has its share of acoustic finger-picking but it's no indulgent exercise in guitar virtuosity. Instead, the concentration is on the songs and their arrangements, with the album sequenced so that vocal and instrumental pieces often alternate. Every song makes the strongest possible case for itself, with the end result a near-perfect ten-song collection that draws the listener back again and again to re-sample its many charms. The Valleys opens strongly with “Salt Hill Pt. 1,” an outdoorsy setting for acoustic guitars and sweetly singing pedal steel with a chiming glockenspiel theme the cherry on top. Making like a country-crossing troubador, Jäverling then adds his clear-throated, dulcet voice to the Britfolk-styled jaunt of “May & Lee” while the joyous cry of Andreas Söderström's lap steel and Jäverling's mellotron resound in the background. The wistful meditation “Wishingwell” gets a boost from Maria Eriksson whose gentle vocals nicely complement Jäverling's own, while the wind chimes, harmonium, and trumpet provide enriching atmosphere and deepen the feeling of longing. The album's centerpiece, “Train To C.,” finds Jäverling and company weaving electric guitar, electric piano, viola, trumpet, and drums into a rollicking and bluesy set-piece before settling down for a spectral coda of considerably more tranquil character. Perhaps the prettiest piece is “Salt Hill Pt. 2” in large part due to a central hook that sings out so grandly in violinist Michael Siddell's hands you'll be hearing it long after the recording's done. It's hardly the sole melodic moment of note, however. The sing-song folk melodies that jaunt through “Little Bird” are just as potent, and the subsequent interplay between melodica, glockenspiel, and lap steel is merely one more in a long string of highlights. Elsewhere, Jäverling takes a solo turn on the soothing lullaby “Rest Your Eyes”; Andreas Söderström's trumpet, backed by stately glockenspiel and vibraphone playing, assumes the lead role during “The Wedding Ring”; and a rare somber foray emerges via the melancholy waltz “April.” “Sun Valley” incites Jäverling's group to give the closing track a full-bodied, grandiose sweep that proves to be the perfect way to end this superb collection. While I expected The Valleys to be good, I'll confess I was a bit surprised by how splendid it turned out to be. - textura.org
This second full-length from Swedish multi-instrumentalist Rickard Javerling starts beautifully with the intoxicating instrumental 'Salt Hill Pt. 1'. Opening up with lovely, layered fingerpicked acoustic guitar passages, the track goes on to embrace ethereal pedal steel and heart-meltingly delicate glockenspiel melodies - it's a laudably seductive piece, and yet immediately after such auspicious beginnings along comes 'May & Lee' (the first vocal track, on the album) whose lyrics turn out to be mind-bendingly banal, sing-songy, arbitrary rhymes. The music itself remains gloriously impervious to fault, yet listeners of a particularly sensitive disposition will find themselves at great pains to overlook "Lee/Wanna see/Bumblebee/Up a tree/It's me/Time for tea/A to Z [pronounced 'zee']/Gee, it's so easy". Not so much a song as an indefensible verbal spillage. Just when you're starting to really get cross at old Javerling for penning such nonsense you notice in the booklet that he's actually lifted these lyrics from the Shoreline song 'Sounds Like'. It's twee, cutesy foolishness of the most disheartening kind, and really doesn't fit with the Swede's undoubted skills as an instrumentalist and arranger. Thankfully, we're fully back on track in time for 'Wedding Ring', another rich instrumental, this time full of evocative exchanges between tuned percussion and mournful brass. From here on the album is an unqualified success, stopping by some wistful chamber-country sounds during 'Train To C' before tackling more successful vocal pieces on 'Rest Your Eyes' and 'Little Bird'. The two final tracks are especially good: 'April' expands from a hauntingly sombre harmonica-led piece into a downbeat string composition, only for 'Sun Valley' to continue in lavishing you with ear-ticklingly orchestral textures, wrapping up the album on a bright, optimistic note. - boomkat
Two Times Five Lullaby (2006)
The sound a late summer heat haze would make if it was prone to a bit of meandering folk, Rickard Javerling's debut album 'Two Times Five Lullaby' is a gorgeous smudge of soft centered song writing that will delight anyone who prefers the finer things in life... Originally from Stockholm but having spent time in Ireland and Glasgow, Javerling's sound is as rootless as his traveling would suggest - pulling in influences from American folk traditions, Chicago post-rock and Swedish prog, that are then given a golden glow through some atmospheric nods to the likes of Eno and Budd. A delicious compote of banjos, accordion, drums, harps and a wheezing Hammond, 'Two Times Five Lullaby' opens through the swelling composition of 'Ice Princess' - wherein an overt nod is given to Fleetwood Mac as a diffused palate of ingredients coax you towards the song's muted conclusion. From here Javerling delivers one of the albums clear highlights through the irresistible 'The Three Sisters', a song that manages to evoke images of a Wickerman hoe-down without resorting to the rinky-dink folk trappings that so often blight such comparisons. Threaded with a bold and addictive melody, 'The Three Sisters' is music which seems totally organic - despite the evident love and care that has gone into its genesis. From here, 'Two Times Five Lullaby' meanders along with utter focus - leading you through a forest of overhanging melodies and autumnal bliss that becomes more of a friend with each listen. Moving on from 'The Three Sisters', 'Martina's Waltz' is a slow-motion waltz that recalls Radiohead's 'Motion Picture Soundtrack', 'Palermo' defies the city of its title by conjuring up a magical atmosphere through little more than wheezing accordion and delicate guitar, whilst the album closes with the solipsistic strings of 'Heavenly Birds Pt. 2' - a piece which is widescreen without becoming overblown. A genuinely beautiful record. - boomkat
The only time you hear the voice of Rickard Jäverling during Two Times Five Lullaby is during the opening seconds of the album, when he quietly counts into the song "Ice Princess." A folk musician who travelled across Europe, Jäverling finally settled back in his home country of Sweden and starting laying down tracks. Joined by several friends (including Erik Malmberg of Sagor &l Swing on Hammond organ), he has created a warm, lush debut album of pastoral instrumentals.
Making use of banjo, accordion, harp, hand percussion, organ, melodica, guitar, violin, singing saw, and drums (sparsely), the eleven track release plays out something like a more organic and less droning version of the group Tape, and a little like the instrumentation that Adem creates on his solo albums. After the aforementioned opening track, the release really gets going nicely with "Three Sisters," as delightful guitar melodies wind together while some soft percussion and accordion pull the track together into something playful.
The musical theme introduced on the previous track is revisited slightly in other places on the release with different instrumentation, and it's little things like that touch that help to pull the album together even more tightly. "Heavenly Birds Pt. 1" is paced more deliberately, but with some soft chimes and some subtle horns, the track (which also mixes in some field recordings) is easily one of the most earthy on the entire release. More than anything, Two Times Five Lullaby sounds like several people getting together and just creating a nice little album of songs that could easily be the soundtrack to your favorite storybook you had when you were a child. "Martina's Waltz" is a perfect example, as nothing more than a wheezy organ (complete with creaky bellows) seems to convey more feeling and reflection that loads of songs with more dense instrumentation. Perfect music for a lazy weekend day, this one is worth checking out if you like any of the aforementioned. - www.almostcool.org/
Rickard Jäverling's debut contains extremely delicate music, the kind you pay attention not to breathe too loudly while listening, just in case it disintegrates. His simple melodies on acoustic guitar and harmonium sound so fragile yet are surprisingly assured. Two Times Five Lullaby has the Swedish pastoral mood stamped all over it, from the cheerful guitar picking in "The Three Sisters" to the soulful lead harmonica in "Palermo" (strongly reminiscent of Björn Olsson's solo debut). There is a strong Americana flavor to the album, with "The Three Sisters" leaning toward the hoedown and the presence of a banjo in "Brandon Bay." The latter piece also brings Frank Pahl to mind, with its harmonium, theremin, and bottle percussion, while the solo harmonium track "Martina's Waltz" has the grace of a Lars Hollmer song. Sagor & Swing's Eric Malmberg guests on organ for a couple of tunes, including "Track," a highlight. Somewhere between original timeless folk tunes and inconsequential melodies, the 11 tracks flow by effortlessly and you find yourself hitting that play button again, without even thinking about it. Peaceful and simple music, charming skeletons of songs.- allmusic.com