Harv / Töst!
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cd cover Daniel Sandén-Warg and Magnus Stinnerbom, the two twenty-somethings who began the group Harv, came to traditional music in their late teens, but made up for lost time, racing to the forefront of Swedish traditional music scene. With this, their third album, they again bring a youthful enthusiasm to the music -- not like the punk fury of a neo-trad band like the Pogues, but a contagious exuberance that shows that the hoary music is not ready for a museum shelf just yet. While most of the album's tunes are originals, written by Stinnerbom and the CD features lots of photos of the band getting drunk and acting silly, the music is, for the most part, a reverent bow to the old styles. But reverence doesn't mean the music is staid.

This time out, Harv the duo has added a guitarist and percussionist to become Harv the quartet. The somewhat-untraditional instrumentation adds texture and rhythmic power without smashing any rules or going electric like Hedningarna (with whom Stinnerbom plays) or Garmarna. There is the occasional slow, poignant tune, but mostly the group heads for the fast lane, playing tuneful but rousing numbers that are a reminder that this kind of folk music was usually played to the accompanying stomp of a room full of dancers.

Harv may not have the jaw-dropping drama of the electro-folk wing of the contemporary Swedish traditional music movement, but the group shows that it is expanding the genre its own way, creating toe-tapping, tuneful songs that are welcome additions to the canon. - Marty Lipp

Available from cdRoots

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