Denmark’s most newfangled pop duchess MØ, AKA Karen Marie Ørsted, has seen a rocket-fuelled ascent towards the inner circles of electro-pop. Garnering comparisons to Grimes, Lana Del Rey and Twin Shadow, she’s graduated from the post-dubstep of “Pilgrims” and the glitchtronica of “Maidens”, now edging ever-closer towards the realms of mammoth chartdom with debut EP Bikini Daze. We saw her gravitate towards the poppier waters with Kopparberg’s anthem, “Waste Of Time”, a misty, mystic salvo of Stygian synths and cosmic hooks. For her first extended outing, she’s tugged even further into Top 40 territory by pop’s tractor beam.
“XXX 88″ features Philly producer extraordinaire, Diplo. On it, there’s a jumble of brass stabs, marching band beats and ice-cavern electronics – it’s equal measures dancefloor catnip (even down to Ørsted hollering “Diplo! Diplo! Diplo!”) and jagged future-R&B. “Dark Knight” harnesses a similar timbre – the brass section returns, and rickety snares lead the ramshackle rhythms. It’s a more pensive cut however, and it’s a considerably smoother listen; there’s a fluidity in the harmonies and instead of balls-out dance machinations, Ørsted indulges in velour synthpop.
On the other half of the EP, Ørsted dabbles in experimental balladry, careening into a land dominated by the Del Reys of this world. “Never Wanna Know” is an uncanny resemblance to the pouty-lipped diva, so much so that without prior knowledge, you would be forgiven for assuming it wasn’t an effort by Ørsted – even down to the flippant register shifts, the gospel keys, the ’50s doo-wop backing vocals and the hip-hop drums. “Freedom (#1)” is a more soulful affair, with jazzy humming and sparse piano melodies. The twinkling, fuzzy axe plucks return from her earlier material, adding a fresh, more staccato layer into the mix. When Ørsted ventures out of the gloom and into the daylight, it’s abundantly clear that she’s got a whopping pair of lungs on her, belting out emotion that permeates every recess of the squidgy walnut inside your skull.
Ørsted’s output thus far has been sensational. Bikini Daze doesn’t do a damn thing to change that declaration – the EP is an excellent portfolio, advertising her stellar wares. We see a spritz of various weapons in her arsenal, and though they may be brief snippets, they ensure that we’re not fatigued by her noise. Instead, we’d actually quite like more. A lot more.