(10 March 2013) Tiny Tornado is a new sound from Sweden fronted by Jade Ell and Mats Hedström. The band have a mellow, cinematic folk pop style with songs about daily wonders and familiar struggles. As the moniker implies, "what seem to be tiny matters can eventually have a bigger impact and profound consequence in our lives." The debut album is a twelve track collection entitled Echoes and Rhymes (Tiny Records (Sweden), 2013). Although planned exclusively for digital release, review copies were provided to press in a glossy gatefold with photos by Suzanne Hedström (outer) and Magster (inner).
The collaboration between the two songwriters started in a studio about ten years ago. Together they have a history of writing songs for other artists leading to a couple of Billboard #1s worldwide. However, the time for their own voices to be heard has arrived. The combination of the voices make the Tiny Tornado sound special. In the vein of Fleetwood Mac, Simon & Garfunkel and groups like The Weepies, it's both heartfelt and very genuine. They are joined by guests Alexandra Ekelöf (violin on "Paperplane" and "86 400") and Emeli Jeremias (cello on "I'm All Poison"). All other instruments are played by Tiny Tornado.
The album opens with the upbeat track "86 400" which is sung 'eighty six thousand.' Listeners are introduced to the the lovely harmonies of the singers' voices working alongside the accessible arrangements in this first superb track. Crisp percussion provides the foundation for "In The Cold Light of Day," a track where Jade's accordion is heard clearly in the arrangement. Singers work together and individually delivering the lyrical message.
The album's title track "Echoes & Rhymes" is a gentle ballad with very light--but not completely stark--arrangements. Jade sings the lead part and is supported by Mats' lovely harmonies. In one of the first of the album's contrasts, Jade leads the lyrical delivery of "Paperplane" atop a most lovely violin-based arrangement. The warm vocal delivery is joined by tight instrumentation.
A series of richly arranged tracks include "Ghost Town," a track whose vocal harmonies illustrate the virtuousity of the duo. We were especially impressed with the vocal deliveries and the brief instrumental breaks in the song. Equally tremendous is the upbeat and accessible "Not Lonely - Alone," whose guitars give the arrangement a rocking flavor. Listen for each of the singers solos and stunning instrumentals in the midsection.
"Live To Write Another Song" has strong allusions to Fleetwood Mac. We even heard a little bit (OK, it was a lot!) of Stevie Nicks style in Jade's vocal delivery! We adored the keyboard arrangement. The allusion continues in "Talk Is Cheap," where the vocal harmonies and crisp rhythmic arrangements contributed significantly to the Fleetwood Mac-like sound. It's superb.
Acoustic guitar dominates the arrangement of the downtempo love song "Tu Me Manques," with lyrics written as the title implies in French. The heartfelt song ("I Miss You") is superbly delivered with the two singers also contributing vocalise to the arrangement. The layered vocals in "I'm All Poison" are backed sparse arrangements. Listen for Jade's power against the cello in the arrangement, perfectly selected to establish the song's brooding style. The album concludes with the brief song "Now Is A Place Of Grace," a gentle acoustic guitar ballad dominated by the singers' individual and harmony vocal parts and supported by Jade's accordion.
Jade Ell and Mats Heldström know each other's way of phrasing and musical styles from their years of working together. Tiny Tornado's music is timeless and engaging with the two voices telling stories everyone can relate to. They plan to release Echoes and Rhymes digitally in late March. There may be further distribution physically as well. Bravo!