A few years ago, Tobias Fröberg opened for Peter Morén's North American tour. While charming and hilarious, there was a distinct sense of also-ran, as Fröberg's engaging stage persona couldn't quite make up for the fact his songs were, at best, sweetly adequate. However, "The big up" gives us a different Fröberg, one who is ready to step out from behind "big brother Morén's" shadow. For those of us who have been longing to embrace both artist and music, it's about time!
Built around organ, understated strings, and a pronounced sense of melancholy, the songs of "The big up" are bluer, and the emotions a bit sharper than 2008's "Turn heads". Love, it appears, still weighs heavily on Fröberg's mind. Although, from the paean to lost war love "Sandra", to guitar-driven "I wanna hurt like that", to spectacularly understated "When we go to war", pain and violence is never far behind. Even when his self-deprecating charm peaks though on track "I hope that I die before you", it's not without a keen sense that the end is always in sight. So consistent is his theme and care that, by album's end, even the refrain of final track "Baby baby baby" feels indebted with emotion far beyond its simple words. Also-ran no more, introspect suits Fröberg.
- Laura Studarus