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  • David Bentley

FRUM – The Only Way (single)

Plenty of material to work with here.  

FRUM (ever more artists are using upper case capitalisation for their monikers) is a project of Jenný Augustudóttir Kragesteen, a singer/songwriter who grew up on the Faroe Islands but appears to be based in Germany now. The project takes on music, film and bodily expression, “deeply impacted by the remote and beautiful surroundings of her youth.”

I’m attracted to song titles like this. ‘The Only Way’ has shades of Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ about it and, let’s call her JAK for brevity, says  it is “a story about all the opportunities we are told to have in this life, if you just try hard enough. And then, realising your own boundaries. It is about accepting my own limitations and the journey I have been on to identifying the things in life I want to be. It might not always be easy, but it is The Only Way.” And it has nothing to do with Essex, which is a bonus.

Then I remembered the first song with that title that I heard, and it isn’t the one by Tricky. Rather it’s Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s track from the B-side of ‘Tarkus’ and which is an ‘anti-hymn’, just as Lake’s perennially played Christmas song ‘I  believe in Father Christmas’ is anti-religious. Considering that Lake wrote or co-wrote some splendid lyrics for ELP (think of ‘Karn Evil Nine’ particularly) his ‘The Only Way’ contains what are possibly the worst lines in the history of rock music. “Can you believe/ God makes you breathe? / Why did he lose / Six million Jews?”

When you’ve finished cringing I’ll move on to the business in hand. Considering the message is so strident, the delivery of it isn’t. Set to a slightly obscure beat, JAK’s ‘The Only Way’ is offered up rather as a bubbly, lightweight pop song that’s more likely to lull you on board than to shanghai you, especially the chorus, which you’ll struggle to get out of your head. There is also a radio edit of the song streaming which has more of an electronic nature to it.

Musically, she lies somewhere here between the Dutch/Kosovan Naaz and the early work from Norway’s Ary, which isn’t a bad place to be. Listening to some of her other songs this one seems to have a distinctly more pop, and less ‘alternative’ and anthemic, flavour to it.

Yet another example of the booming Faroese music scene, which ranges across, around and in-between all genres.

‘The Only Way’ is out now via hfn Music.

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