album reviews

Ane Brun
A Temporary Dive
V2 (2006)

Scandinavia seems to be the hip place for bands to call home nowadays, from Sweden's the Hives and the Sounds to Norway's Kings of Convenience and Serena Maneesh. Other than a mailing address, mellow folkie Ane Brun shares little with those groups. In fact, on her U.S. debut, "A Temporary Dive," she evokes both Beth Orton's pouting melancholy and the warm, understated instrumentation of Keren Ann.

With its dreamy, hazy repetitions, the album's opening track, "To Let Myself Go," sounds almost like a Portishead song remade as a folk tune, while the pronounced, plucked guitar lines on "Balloon Ranger" recall Ani DiFranco's early work. Despite the warmth of her sound, Brun's lyrics are rarely cheery: "Rubber & Soul" starts with the demeaning confession, "In my mind, I'm crawling on your floor/vomiting and defeated," while "Where Friend Rhymes With End" is a dejected look at the loss of a friendship.

Brun sometimes shakes that bleakness: She sassily documents her lover's favorite features on the bouncy "Song No. 6," a cheerful duet with Ron Sexsmith. Even beneath her quivering voice on "The Fight Song," her determination shines through, closing the downhearted journey of "A Temporary Dive" with a glimmer of hope.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 12 May 2006, Page WE09
.: A Temporary Dive on