Album: Taken By Trees, East of Eden (Rough Trade)

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The Independent Culture

Formerly the vocalist with The Concretes – though perhaps best known for her work on Peter Bjorn and John's "Young Folks" – Victoria Bergsman was lured by her love of singers such as Abida Parveen and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to record in Pakistan with local musicians, the results furnishing her second album as Taken by Trees.

By all accounts, it was a fairly fraught experience, with Bergsman and guitarist Andreas Söderström having to masquerade as a married couple in order to fend off the unwanted attentions of local men who regarded the unattached singer as "common property"; and even the local musicians took some persuading to accept a woman in charge of the recording sessions. But she managed to create an album of often surpassing beauty, delivering songs of love and loss such as "Watch the Waves" and "To Lose Someone" in a wan, plaintive manner over beds of gently puttering percussion, funky acoustic guitar and breaths of flute, with subtle contrails of Eastern violin, warm harmonium drones and beguiling local vocals entwining delicately around the arrangements. A version of Animal Collective's "My Girls" – here changed to "My Boys" – is set to a stately, dipping rhythm of xylophone and percussion, while AC's Noah Lennox repays the favour by adding backing vocals to "Anna".

Download this To Lose Someone, Watch the Waves, Greyest Love of All, My Boys, Day by Day