Foreign Slippers – Farewell To The Old Ghosts (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
HAVING impressed with their recent It All Starts Now EP, Foreign Slippers duly continue to endear with their album, Farewell To The Old Ghosts.
The brainchild of Gabi Froden, a Scandinavian singer, artist, author, songwriter and ruling deity, Foreign Slippers isn’t so much a band as a state of mind… a place where flocks of scratchy birds fly over enchanted forests full of cloth dogs and mercurial musicians, while a bewitching voice sings lullabies to the icy sky.
But at its core, the songs are grounded in reality and born from Froden’s own personal experiences.
Or, as Froden herself puts it: “I write a lot from my life without knowing that’s what I’m doing – which I like because it means the songs come from somewhere inside I’m not in control of. But I also steal other people’s lives.
“I like the idea of trying to understand other peoples’ experiences or express them through myself… It comes genuinely from my heart. I hope the songs are real, and can be really beautiful, but also really sad or happy, or hopeful.”
Hence, for every upbeat melody found within the album, there’s often a bittersweet sentiment attached to it that provides a wonderful contrast. And the songs keep winning you over by making you swoon, starting with that former single, It All Starts Now, a slow-builder of a song that builds into euphoric exultation.
Immediately, Froden’s unique voice grabs you, feeling almost fragile early on, as it’s set against a subtle plucked acoustic guitar. But once the layering is introduced and the chorus kicks in for the first time, the song blossoms into an absolute beauty.
Thank The Moon continues that momentum, as does Old Ghosts, another instant charmer of a track that’s built around more enchanting vocals and some swirling piano arrangements. The chorus is loaded with melody.
Slowing down the tempo, meanwhile, is Two People In You, a dusky, almost camp-fire offering, where a strummed acoustic guitar provides a soft backdrop to a melancholy track about loss, longing and unrequited feelings.
Avalanche, though, is full of effervescent melodies and toe-tapping percussion, complete with a gorgeous chorus that will have you singing merrily along “all that gold got buried in the avalanche”… again, though, with a sense of sorrow under-pinning the lyrics (“I can’t tell if I knew you well”).
Elsewhere, Island strips things back to an acoustic ballad that’s dripping with raw emotion (“I lost too many hearts…”), thereby underlining Foreign Slippers’ ability to mix up the tempos… likewise, the brooding What Are You Waiting For, which turns the piano chords atmospheric, the beats more subtle and Froden’s vocals more haunted (think Florence + The Machine or even Kate Bush).
But no matter which tempo Foreign Slippers choose, the fit is a comfortable one. It’s by turns warm and endearing, yet heartfelt and thought-provoking. And Froden and company barely put a foot wrong throughout.
Further highlights come in the form of the distraught Dead Inside, which makes good use of shared vocals, and the upbeat, deliciously melodic Is That You, in which Froden’s vocals are once again to die for.
In truth, though, the whole album looks set to become one of the year’s highlights.
Download picks: It All Starts Now, Old Ghosts, Avalanche, Island, What Are You Waiting For, Dead Inside,