Fred Lee & The Restless – Sleepwalking In Daylight
Release Date: 11/06/2021
Running Time: 28:48
Review by Beth Jones
Fred Lee, AKA Fredrik Lindkvist, is best known for his role as frontman of Swedish Punk/Hardcore band Totalt Jävla Mörker, so you would expect some pretty hard-hitting sounds to be popping out of him for his debut solo album, “Sleepwalking In Daylight”. But you’d be very wrong. This album is a jaunt into the world of Folk Rock. And a rather nice one it is too.
Formed in 2019, Fred Lee & The Restless explore the more laid back and from the heart musical expression that at some point comes to us all. I would describe it as music for the world-weary soul. It has a soothing and relatable presence, with lyrical honesty, and melodic catchiness to boot.
I do love a bit of Folk Rock. I was in a folk band for some years and enjoyed the fusion of folk sounds from instruments like the fiddle, mandolin, and banjo, combining with rock guitars and steady rhythmic percussion, alongside vaguely gravelly and ever so slightly off-key vocals. This is what makes the sound so recognizably ‘Folk’. The unpolished nature makes it so much more human.
This album reminds me a lot of The Levellers, whose music formed a large part of my ‘go to’ collection in the late 90’s. The melancholic dystopian view of the world explored through happy melodies is something I’ve always found quite fascinating. The lilting sounds of gypsy-style violin and delicate plinks of the banjo take your mind wandering to a faraway place, sitting on a log in the summer heat, reminiscing of days passed, friends departed, and old memories. A great example of this is the acoustic driven ‘New Sweden’.
There’s nothing overstated about this album either. Whether it is more upbeat, full band numbers, such as ‘I’ve Tried’, or ‘Devil’s Chokehold’, or more laid-back acoustic songs like ‘You Were Anyone, But Not Anywhere…’ and ‘Letter To A Friend’, everything is stripped back and downplayed. This is also another vital key to Folk music. It can be played acoustically and have the same impact as it does plugged up with a full band.
All in all, this is a very pleasing listen. It’s nothing fancy, it does exactly what it says on the tin. But sometimes, that really is all you need. If you’re world-weary, or just want something chilled out to listen to, then you could do a lot worse than this unassuming little album. It’s definitely one I’ll be revisiting often.
‘Devil’s Chokehold’ (Audio)
01. Who Do You Want To Be?
02. I’ve Tried
03. The Weight On My Shoulders
04. You Were Anyone, But Not Anywhere…
05. New Sweden
06. Devil’s Chokehold
07. Capitalist Market
09. These Times Are So Fucking Dark
10. Letter To A Friend
Fredrick Lindkvist – Songwriting, Instrumentals, Vocals
Emma Sjödin – Guest Vocals
Lars Kyösti (Sekunderna, Sista Brytet) – Guitar
Håkan Olsson – Guitar
Erik Gunnarsson (Epidemics, Dream Warriors, Bottenhavet) – Drums
Johan Philipsson (Royal Downfall) – Bass
Joakim Lindquist (Den Stora Flykten, Popterror) – Keyboards
Hanna Kangassalo (Horseface) – Violin
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