Album: Benny Andersson Band, Story Of A Heart (Polydor)

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The Independent Culture

Since Abba ceased trading, Benny Andersson has indulged his abiding love for Swedish folk music with his own 16-piece band.

Story Of A Heart is compiled from the band's three albums of North European folk-band music, from the oompah tubas and glockenspiels of the calliope-style "Cirkus Finemang" and the dashing polka clarinets and xylophones of "Jehu", to the accordion and horns of "Birthday Waltz For Mona". Further west, the loping tin-whistle and piercing lead guitar of "Glasgow Boogie" recalls Mike Oldfield in folksy mood, while proceedings are punctuated by the occasional Satie-esque piano instrumental and '50s MOR outings. But the biggest attraction is likely to be the tracks on which Andersson is reunited with lyricist Bjorn Ulvaeus, such as the title-track and "You Are My Man", an impassioned country-soul number infused with Scandinavian melancholy in lines like "You sit for hours on end, all stern-faced and quiet". Most impressive is "Fait Accompli", which revisits the mood, chords and structure of "Winner Takes It All", with precision and brevity: "One minute we're on, next minute you're gone/ There's no more 'we', it's fait accompli".

Download this: 'Fait Accompli', 'You Are My Man', 'Glasgow Boogie', 'Birthday Waltz For Mona', 'Jehu'