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Lina Tullgren

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Free Cell begins in isolation. Lina Tullgren’s guitar picks a delicate, slow-moving melody out of silence.
Sweeping strings and brass echo out to some far-away horizon. In this moment, on the title track of Tullgren’s second album, they sound like the only person left in the universe. Fittingly, Free Cell is named after a game of solitaire.
Tullgren (who uses gender neutral pronouns) played the game compulsively while on tour for their first album, 2017’s Won: “Unlike normal solitaire, Free Cell can always be won,” Tullgren explains. “It’s all about organization.” Free Cell, the album, stems from that same quest for order; writing the songs became a way of sorting through emotions before moving on. Every game of solitaire is played alone — and at the end, there’s always a moment when everything snaps into place.
Throughout Free Cell, Tullgren looks back on their memories from the position of an analyst, often cool and cynical but always with an undercurrent of humor and deep feeling. In their poetry Lina Tullgren writes anthems for the alienated, for those alone on busses, at parties, at their parents’ house, for those who cannot help but feel lonely even if they are surrounded by others. Free Cell invites us to sit and listen, to reflect, but with no guarantee of any of those things being easy.

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