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I first stumbled upon Lykke Li on the first Twilight soundtrack which personally I thought was an amazing compilation with some fantastic artists, yet I never managed to convince anyone that it was any good. Her track “Possibility” was just so beautiful, dark and haunting at the same time, showed immense depth beyond her years.

I hate to say that the talents of Lykke will be somewhat lost on the young female audience who generally hoard towards any act with a female vocalist and don’t look forward to seeing her live.

The album title aided by the artwork is somewhat misleading. I initially had the impression that this would be a dark and emotional musical experience, yet this could not be further from the truth. This album has a more mainstream sound than I expected, yet is still quite an enjoyable listen.

“Youth Knows No Pain” sets the tone early with a nice short pop track to open the album. There are a lot of elements with some nice keys, percussion and strong vocals overlapping to provide a solid entrance to the album. “I Follow Rivers” continues off the quality pop sound with a really catchy and addictive sound that grows every time you listen to it. It is the signature track in a sense for this album as you can enjoy it at a fun, pop song yet it is also much deeper if you are so inclined. This is definitely one of the best songs out there from the first half of the year.

“Love out of Lust” turns towards the deeper, heartfelt side that I was expecting from this album. It is slower and softer than the previous songs and really shows off Lykke’s gentle, almost girlish voice.

“Unrequited Love” is probably never going to be my favourite track on this album. It really doesn’t sell the vocal even with a stripped back sound, having said that though the backing vocals are quite enjoyable and save the track before it starts getting on my nerves.

“Get Some” is a song that has me listening to the lyrics trying to figure out what the song is about (I have read them and yeah, let’s leave it at that). It’s a good little pop track if you are able to separate yourself from the lyrics and just enjoy the song. The song shows off some nice percussion and that familiar floating vocals. Like the other up beat tracks on the album, it really has addictive qualities which flow from the brilliant use of the vocal as the primary instrumental sound through the song and very abstract drumming. By this stage I seem to have forgotten what I had wanted from this album and am really hooked.

The keyboard sound that leads into “Rich Kids Blues” seems in vogue of late and really reminds me of something by the Arctic Monkeys, of their Humbug days. Despite this, the song goes in a very different direction and stays away from a darker sound. “Sadness is a Blessing” is another song title that suggests something hauntingly beautiful yet seems not to even attempt to deliver on the promise. Using an intriguing drum-kit sound and a very simple piano as backing. This song seems to attempt to pull at the heart-strings but it’s just too fast paced and the vocal has too much warmth which is very confusing. Once again, I find myself forgetting the lyrics and just enjoying the music as it misses the mark to a degree.

“I Know Places” brings you back to where “Youth Novel” left off, with a very bare and gentle acoustic sound supported by a male backup vocal which really gives the first taste of that heart-felt sound that I was waiting for. This is the highlight of the album as the songwriting never tries to do too much and allows the song to flow with little effort. The song transitions into an instrumental piece which flows on beautifully from the first part of the song. This is exactly what I had hoped for from this album and it continues with that warm tone on “Jerome” which takes a move in a more up tempo direction, with more some interesting electronic sounds that keep folding back through the track and reflects well off the vocal.

Percussion is a key element to this album and it’s no surprise that the closing track “Silent My Song” features an entrance that is heavy in industrial sounding drumming machine. I really love this kind of pop music and I keep using that word, however this will never tear down the charts. It’s just not the kind of thing that would ever sell in the States, which for me is great as I don’t have to have it ruined by the shopping mall radio which I think is probably still playing Kings of Leon on loop. I could rant on all day about this album, but really just go and listen to it cause it’s a ripper. Watch this space, because I think this young lady is about to take over the indie scene.

ALBUM RATING: Brilliant pop album displaying a very unique vocal

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