CD Review: Taken by Trees

East of Eden (Rough Trade)

Making world music is no easy task. Incorporating elements of various musical traditions — some esoteric, some immediately recognizable — into a single, striking work of art is like building a car out of parts from numerous models. If the thing runs, it's a miracle. On East of Eden, Taken by Trees' sophomore album, songwriter Victoria Bergsman (best known for her time in the Concretes and guest vocals on Peter Bjorn and John's 2006 smash "Young Folks") hunts down the various parts but fails to really get on the road. Instead, East of Eden feels like a homogenized, corporate-sponsored trip around the world that ignores the grit and grime in favor of tourist hot spots. Despite all the foreign sounds, the album's best song is a cover of Animal Collective's "My Girls" (re-titled "My Boys"). But even this seems like a strange choice, considering the original was released earlier this year. The songwriting depth and unexpected instrumentation reveal that Bergsman has a wealth of resources and arranging ability at her disposal. Maybe she just needs to keep them within the confines of the Swedish pop scene. — Matt Whelihan

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