Anna of the North launches debut full of dreamy synthpop
Today is a big day at A Bit of Pop Music headquarters. Right at the start of 2016 we tipped upcoming pop act Anna of the North as the next big thing and today the duo consisting of Norwegian singer and songwriter Anna Lotterud and producer Brady Daniell-Smith from New Zealand finally dropped their debut album Lovers. As a fan from the start it did pain me a little bit to see that their brilliant singles like ‘The Dreamer’ and ‘Oslo’ did not make the record, but after hearing Lovers it all makes a lot more sense as this is a super cohesive 80s inspired synthpop record!
The sound of Anna of the North has evolved since 2015 and tracks like ‘The Dreamer’ simply would not fit with the slick and stylish synthpop they do now. First single and title track ‘Lovers’ was a good indication of what the full record would sound like; subtle beats, soaring synths, a midtempo rhythm and Anna’s sometimes dreamy and sometimes icy vocals. Second single ‘Someone’ is probably the best song on the record with its uncompromising ode to 80s classics like ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ in the production and a key change that is guaranteed to snatch weaves.
Anna and Brady, who met each other at a gig while traveling in Australia, deliver a debut album that is both perfectly cohesive and free of any filler material. On their short but sweet effort, all ten songs serve a purpose. The only earlier released single that made the cut, the synth ballad ‘Baby’, forms the more quiet and subdued moment, while some tropical elements are thrown in for potential hit ‘Fire’, the record’s most upbeat moment. It leaves you craving for a little bit more danceable pop and that is exactly what last year’s single ‘Us’, which would have fit with the 80s vibe of the whole record, could have served. We might just throw it on as a bonus track in our iTunes!
This however doesn’t take away from the brilliance of slow burning album opener ‘Moving On’ or the beautifully heartbreaking ‘Always’ where Anna hypnotically repeats: “I’m tired of being in love, always in the background.” It is this track, that slightly reminds me of Shura, who just like Anna of the North, delivered an impressive debut that took us to synth pop heaven. Just like Shura’s effort last year, Anna of the North’s Lovers is easily one of the best debut albums of 2017.