Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Anna of the North knows where she's going on Lovers

Release date: 08 September 2017
Album of the week
Anna of the North Lovers
04 September 2017, 11:15 Written by Pip Williams
Oslo-based singer/songwriter Anna of the North (real name Anna Lotterud) has been making waves since 2014’s “Sway”, a standalone single that introduced us to her lithe, layered synth-pop, before later being remixed by omnipresent frat boys of pop The Chainsmokers.

This July saw Lotterud featured on Tyler, The Creator’s recent album Flower Boy, but now comes her own full-length debut record with bandmate Brady Daniell-Smith.

“Sway” – along with several of Lotterud’s strongest singles – has been omitted from the tracklisting of the long-awaited Lovers, a move that’s difficult to understand given the LP’s sparse 10-track runtime. The lack of “Oslo”’s wintery glow and percussion-led sophomore release “The Dreamer” hang particularly heavy, but Lovers still yields a satisfying clutch of Anna of the North’s glimmering, opalescent offerings.

Synths and guitar swirl together indistinguishably on previously unheard opener “Moving On”. Laced with Lotterud’s velvety vocals, it’s been a live favourite for some time, and is the perfect introduction to Anna of the North’s dreamy soundscapes. It’s followed up by the spacious, 80s-influenced “Someone”, and title track “Lovers”. “Lovers” was the first of the gaggle of singles from the album shared earlier this year, and it’s easy to see why. It sets the tone with all the slick pop sensitivity of MØ, albeit pared down from a club jam to echoey early morning sounds.

“Money” channels the crisp brightness of “Oslo”, sharp handclaps punctuating a warning to the song’s subject about their current lover: “Don’t want you baby, don’t want your love, she just wants your money, honey.”

Hazy new cut “Always” is a lackadaisical slice of sun against Lovers’ frosted Nordic backdrop, but it fails to really get off the ground in its four-minute span, despite a well-applied smattering of tambourine. “I’m tired of being in love, always in the background,” Lotterud laments, the yearning of her voice unmatched by the track supporting it. Thankfully, the funky throb of “Feels” picks up momentum in its wake, showing a sexier side of Anna and the North to which we’ve not previously been privy.

Released last year, “Baby” is the oldest single to have made it onto the album. It gives the record breathing space through its sparse, pensive feel – a contrast to the more upbeat direction taken by other tracks. “Friends” continues in this vein; an understated highlight that showcases the band’s ability to find splendour in simplicity.

“Fire” sees Lotterud and Daniell-Smith take on the dancehall-lite formula that’s dominated the airwaves since Major Lazer’s “Lean On”. Diplo and co.’s efforts may have spawned a thousand tired knock-offs, but you can rest assured, “Fire” is not one of these. Instead, Lotterud’s layered vocals cascade over a bed of springy, effervescent synths, her tone direct and pointed in a way we’ve not heard before.

There are a few moments that miss their mark – recent single “Someone” has a forced keychange that belies its soaring effortlessness – but for the most part, Lovers is a slick, listenable debut with a strong sense of direction and poise. Nowhere is this more evident than on soft, sweet closer “All I Want”, with Lotterud lilting “All I want is your warmth and devotion.” With this debut, there’s every chance she’ll win it.

Anna of the North will play a Best Fit show in Paris on 20 October 2017. RSVP on Facebook, buy tickets.
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