Vasen – Brewed

Album Review | Northside | Review by Liam Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5

There’s one thing a band can be sure of after 28 years together, that their performances will be tight.  Väsen, a threesome who have been playing together since the late 1980s and have released no fewer than seventeen albums, are so tightly bound that their handling of opulent Swedish folk is as dazzling as it is pristine.  Vasen’s latest release Brewed serves up an intoxicating flagon of fifteen instrumental originals that mine the Uppland landscape for traditional melodies which, thanks to the band’s organic collaborative playing, emerge reinvigorated.  The opening track “Väsenvalsen” is a muscular and notably angular piece which showcases the seering poiana – a five stringed viola – of Mikael Marin as well as the cleanly chugging guitar of Roger Tallroth.  There are further brawny moments such as the dramatic “Tiomiljonerspolskan” and blustery “Hogmarkar’n”, but the real treasure is to be found in the more delicate melodies of such tracks as “Framtidens March” and “Jungfrun Av Norge” which, thanks to Olov Johansson’s splendid nyckelharpa, are gilt-edged and so exquisitely rendered.