Captured Tracks have unearthed yet another quietly impressive singer-songwriter in the form of Maine resident Lina Tullgren. There are shades of Joanna Gruesome, Ought and Colleen Green across Won as Tullgren turns in a record of well-groomed, vaguely grungy American indie. Whether climbing for falsetto or down into the lower reaches of her range, Tullgren’s voice maintains a coy neutrality that only serves to make her songs more intriguing.
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Time for another game of “Is This Song Actually Good Or Does It Just Have Twang In It?”. The answer is yes, “Perfect” is actually good -- I’ve been watching a lot of Nashville lately, so you’ll have to forgive me for my bias, but the chords whining their way into my ear on this song are in fact full on perfect. It’s the little details like this that get me, and they’re gonna get you too -- Lina Tullgren’s songwriting is simple and abashed, but it’s little flourishes and minor presentational choices make it hit all the harder.
‘Won’ tells simple stories about personal stresses -- it’s the textures that make it feel like a grey area. Tullgren says things like “Moms on the island, dad’s up North, going insane” in disaffected tones over distantly marching drums and murky, dust-covered chords. She plays with strange ambient warps and disfigures songs that should sound clear as day. “Face Off” is actually so weird, in this respect: it slowly discombobulates into a discordant mess, Tullgren’s riffs crumbling towards the wrong notes, wandering about like someone walking through an empty house with nothing to do.
Secretly noisy, this record invites the detritus in, treating it as one with Tullgren’s melodies and often tipping the balance in its favour. The bitty, nightmarish production of “Fitchburg State” puts buzzing, overdriven sounds at the fore of your ears and lets the song float in the distance. When the record comes back to a simple clarity worthy of your standard indie pop, as on the elegiac and beautiful “Get Lost”, it’s a treat rather than a relief. The ramshackle of this record is as worthy as Alex G circa ‘Beach Music’ -- inventive and immaculately fucked up, Tullgren keeps changing its miserable shape.
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- Won by Lina Tullgren
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