By Esin Huseyin (@Esin_Huseyin)
It’s not often that I can thank social media for introducing me to new artists and albums, but I was introduced to Norwegian singer Aurora Aksnes, or AURORA, via a Snapchat story.
Many will know AURORA and her music through the eagerly anticipated, and well received, John Lewis Christmas advert last year. But, listening to the 19-year-old’s latest album All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend, was actually the first time I truly had the chance to appreciate her music.
Compared to the likes of Lykke Li and Lorde, you can expect a sombre and dark tone weaved beneath the powerful pop pleasures she brings in this album. Her debut brings mature themes of submission throughout, with lyrics of even being “conquered” and mercy killings.
Although there is nothing perverse about this album, the content does have a certain juxtaposition to her soothing tones that even on some occasions takes on a childish innocence and diction.
Opening the album with the somewhat eerie track Runaway was an odd choice for me, as its echoes and clicks creates a cavernous feeling that don’t instantly capture me, but the huge emptiness of the song hides a somewhat warmer soul that eventually reveals itself.
The folky twang of track five, ‘Winter Bird’, also feels like an unlikely fit for the vibe of the album. Taken as a standalone track it’s great, though, with a more upbeat and sprightly production – with I hate to say, overt Enya influences.
Running through the whole album is like a showcase of the variety that the Scandinavian singer-songwriter is capable of. Nearing the end of the album is my favourite track, ‘Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)’. The track is a perfect balance between moody tones, synthy presence and her downbeat lyrics. Ending the album with a track with such a stripped back presence mirrors the opening track Runaway, bringing the album full circle.
This debut album is a far cry from the John Lewis advert and her cover of Oasis’ ‘Half The World Away’, and that’s a good thing. I feel like this album has just touched upon the surface of what AURORA has to offer, and it will be interesting to see how this album translates on the stage later on this year when she’ll be touring around Europe.