In the Red [Special Edition 2-CD]

by: Tina Dico

Singers who grow up in countries that are known for long, dark, cold winters don't necessarily provide an abundance of melancholy music. ABBA, after all, came out of Sweden -- and they wrote the book on fun, frivolous, sugary Europop and became the blueprint for countless other Scandinavian (and German and Dutch) party groups. But it is safe to say that melancholy (or melancholic) is something that some Nordic artists do very well -- Denmark's Tina Dico, for example. In the Red (which was released in Denmark in 2005 and the United States and England in early 2006) is a moody, dusky, highly introspective adult alternative/folk-rock outing that has plenty of melancholy moments, although it isn't as dark or troubled a disc as, say, Fiona Apple's Tidal. Dico has been quoted as saying that her three favorite albums of all time are Joni Mitchell's Blue, Tracy Chapman's self-titled debut album, and Nirvana's Nevermind -- and while In the Red doesn't sound anything like Nevermind (Dico's work is reflective and understated, not forceful or aggressive), one can see that the Dane picked those three classics because she obviously identifies with music's deep thinkers. For all its restraint, In the Red has a lot of meat on its bones. Dico's performances are subtle but never wimpy -- and anyone who has spent a lot of time savoring the likes of Mitchell (a major influence), Sarah McLachlan, Beth Orton, or Dido would have a hard time not enjoying finely crafted gems like "Room with a View," "One," "Losing," and "Head Shop." Produced by Chris Potter (the guy who worked with the Verve, not the jazz reedman Potter), In the Red is a highly promising effort from Dico -- not to mention extremely listenable. [In 2007, Defend released a special two-CD edition.] ~ Alex Henderson

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