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Fredde Gredde - 'Thirteen Eight' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/b0/b7/89/1943_freddegreddethirteeneight_1328120700.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 01, 2012    
 
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Remarkable, but bi-focused album.

Never heard of him? Well, you might have stumbled across someone styled as "Freddie25" on YouTube or even talented Swedish singer and musician Fredrik Larsson: for they are all one and the same person! FreddeGredde (FG) is actually the moniker by which this very talented guy is presenting his debut album.

A little research has revealed that Fredde's favourite genre is progressive rock and he cites bands as diverse as Änglagård, Magenta, Rush, The Flower Kings, Jethro Tull and Porcupine Tree as amongst his favourites. No surprise then that 'Thirteen Eight' (no idea what it means, although there are thirteen tracks) is heavily laced with prog rock epics, but interwoven with these is a series of gentle guitar/piano pop/rock songs and ballads for which he has, perhaps, become better known from his YouTube exposure, and including 'Beside Me' which is also on this album. It sounds like a curious mixture, and in some respects it is; but I think it really works.

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It's a gargantuan album for a debut: running to just over 70 minutes: so on that score alone it really must be a prog album! The music is all original and all performed by FG except for real drums courtesy of David Schlein. While Fredde has written some of the lyrical content, it is interesting to note that no fewer than five female lyricists have contributed to the tracks on this album. Prog metal leanings are very much in evidence in album opener 'Lonely Starlight' a track bathed in synths and featuring some glorious melodies. 'Solace Distant' is mainly a poppy cum AOR ballad that neatly segues into the episodic, somewhat syncopated and occasionally frenetic 'Meltdown' (the title gives it away!) 'The Star Song' is a gentle, quirky almost pop ballad and then we are into a heavily symphonic and somewhat theatrical '4 AM' before heading back into a short acoustic guitar song 'The Wayfarer', which is light and fluffy and, er, lovely!

'Crashing Of Planets' is a slightly livelier AOR-ish song with a great arrangement and hugely climactic ending while 'This Falling World' returns to progressive territory, but is the only track with which I've still not connected. The aforementioned 'Beside Me' follows and then it's 'Vampire Bride' -- a very powerful number with a fantastic tune. The last three tracks have two prog epics ('Euphoria' and the multi-chapter, extremely lengthy 'Time Will Tell') separated by the excellent AOR of 'Stardust'.

Fredde Gredde is a prodigious talent of whom we will undoubtedly hear more in the future. For now we have this remarkable, but bi-focused album!

Paul Jerome Smith

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