Published Oct 14, 2014Why would old and jaded vampires bother with glam rock in Paris or New York? It's much easier, listening to Maggie Björklund's cinematic new album Shaken, to imagine a film about them wearing black cowboy boots, moving to Austin or Nashville for an uneasy, undead retirement. Björklund is a pedal steel guitarist from Denmark, a veteran backing musician. Shaken, her second album as a headliner and songwriter, is a gloomy, twangy collection of songs, a cycle of longing, loss and frozen hearts. This is what hep vampires must listen to when they feel the weight of the years. Just like punk rockers, they eventually turn country.
Many of the beautifully arranged tracks on Shaken are moody instrumentals (Björklund's guitar is especially stellar on "Missing at Sea"), making it seem even more like a film score. When Björklund does sing, it's one of the album's only weaknesses. A slight and breathy singer can make lovely spooky-folk music — Isobel Campbell, for example, uses her little-girl voice to great effect on her records — but Björklund hasn't the vocal presence yet to do justice to her songs. Still, the songs are well written enough to forgive that fault. (Bloodshot)