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Review

Carl Platou’s Frozen Eve full of warm emotions

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November 1, 2007

Carl Platou is an interesting dude. The proclaimed “king of dark pop” (by his own Web site, no less) exhales a deep, relaxed tone through his vocal pipes. He has the nature of someone who obviously has a lot to say, but could care less if you listened. His instrumental abilities are similar to those of your regular acoustic rock guy, but he throws in peppy chords and guitar hooks that show the excitement in his music for him.

Take “Long Time Ago” where piano and keyboards hover across a strummed, jumpy, acoustic guitar, occasionally interrupted by a country-infused electric, which mocks that of a banjo. There’s clever guitar work abound in Frozen Eve.

That’s not to say that it’s entirely a guitar album. The alt-country sound of “Sunday Morning” features some hefty work from violins, “Frozen Eve” has a vibraphone outro, while “Memory Motel” uses it more prominently within the song, giving a cold feeling of something lost. Platou’s sense of musicality and instrumentation is his strongest suit, as his songs have a way of emitting familiar emotions in each listen.

The focus of Platou’s lyrical writing is mostly a straightforward, literal approach to telling a story through nature-like images, like in “Winter Eve,” where he sings painted visuals like “mountains sleep,” “pine trees dance” or “evening come in the winter sun” while playing laid back licks between each verse.

The “dark” title he is given is prominent in his songs like, “Pearly Gate,” which begins with lone guitar picks taken straight from a spaghetti western movie like High Noon, as Platou delivers “Someday we’ll make it…open the pearly gates!” as bell chimes are played overhead. It’s really clever stuff.

There are a few bumps along the ride. “Happy” sounds too much like itself, which is strange since Platou doesn’t seem to be convinced by his own title. “The Second Cold Winter,” the sappy love tribute, is one too many; Platou’s vocal line struggles to reach the lower range of his vocal pipes while he delivers cheese like “I won’t last without you.”

All is forgiven though, in Frozen Eve’s closing song, “I Go With the Sun,” a power house of haunting guitars, piano, cello, and what sounds like a harpsichord. “I go with the sun by my side,” Platou moans, “I go with the sun.”  When the song is finished, you’ll swear he has.

Matthew Loosbrock is a student at UW-River Falls.