Starting on a solo path, Gothenburg guitarist opens delightful vistas for the whole world to marvel at.
It’s not so often that fusion and folk – given the former’s fixation with funk – make comfortable bedfellows, but this Swedish six-stringer, most famous for his work in DEN FULE and firing on individual cylinders now, defies such a notion. Cederblom’s first album under his own name isn’t a pure guitar record, though, because Henrik prefers to be perceived as a composer and band leader, and his skills as a performer serve a higher purpose than simply delivering an original melody or embroidering a traditional tune. Of course, it’s the latter that may become a focus for many an ear, after the ensemble wrapped the Scandinavian dance of “Fillevaeren” in a blistering, brilliant, brass-rock foil, yet self-penned numbers on offer are no less vehement and riveting.
If “Giragala” pulls the listener in with a hypnotic beat and tender twang which will splinter into several lyrical layers to get elevated by Sten Källman’s saxes and almost lose Northern cool in favor of equatorial heat, especially when unison is employed and Viktor Turegard’s bass passages take the drift towards prog, the slow swirl of “Sköldpaddan” is much more elegant and much more adventurous. Still, plaintive lap steel and simmering reeds make “Happy Buddha” exciting and reflexive at the same time, but the vocal-smeared title track, high on Tapha Indiongue’s drums, reeks of carnival rapture, Cederblom’s solo as incendiary as Rio’s sun.
Elsewhere, “Franx” has a bittersweet air about its gripping, increasingly sparse flow that should sway the hardest of hearts, equally elegiac “Drömmen” gradually bristles with riffs and resonates at the bottom-end before it begins to rock and roll. There’s no motion like this in “Bergrummet” – the jazziest piece on display – yet there’s playful eloquence in there, and sadness too, a sort of spiritual fatigue befitting Henrik’s fresh start. The Swede’s new routes, mapped here, promise to be arresting, and following them from “Zobop” on must be a treat.