“The experienced Anne Marie Almedal delivers magic through Pop and Shoegaze patterns, all mixed with her smooth, calm voice. A wonderful production consisting on electronic melodies and vivid percussive outbrakes, which will surely stick in your head.”
The Norwegian vocalist drops a stirring comeback album following the teaser single ‘Breathing in Breathing Out’ released earlier this year. She channels the very best of her near 30 year music career in this latest release, with stunning vocals and rolling melodies reminiscent of her earliest ‘art-pop’ era.
Former lead-singer of indie band Velvet Belly, Almedal delivers delicately crafted song-writing and soothing lyrics all wrapped in a newly-found (distinctly dancey) electronic sound. Orchestrated by chill-step producer EvenS – armed with the piano musings and shoegaze electric guitars of Almedal’s partner and film composer Nicholas Sillitoe – the 10-track album adds saturated beats and synths to atmospheric soundscapes.
It harks back to her dream-pop days – certainly distinct from previous ‘female Nick Drake’ folk-pop releases. Through captivatingly emotional lyric delivery, the project treads the line between happy and sad, effortlessly flitting between both. Recording for ‘We Dance Alone’ began with Almedal’s shocking diagnosis of breast cancer – it’s this devastating news that informed the rousing, up-lifting and brilliantly inspiring song-writing heard in full voice on the album.
“The songs are about survival, never giving up, dreams and hopes,” Almedal says. She adds that the harrowing experiences of breast-cancer treatment and recovery render the messages “unmistakably female.” The album is a perfect score to the movie that has been her recent life; while she went on to write a collection of songs that could very well have been her last, she was mercifully greeted with the ‘all clear’ from doctors upon the project’s completion.
Flagship track ‘We Dance Alone’ is a solemn nod to the “best-forgotten lockdown where we were all faced with dancing alone.” So too is the hazy, post-industrial ‘Freeze The Moment’ – a song that speaks to feelings of despondent isolation. “I wanted to capture something where my lonely scandi-noir could feel equally at home in some imaginary futuristic factory landscapes,” the Norwegian says. “It’s a song for those inner moments.”
‘Runaway Turnaround’ stays true to the album’s philosophy of raw emotion; its heavenly electronic textures lay the foundations for melancholy memories of Almedal’s youth: “It’s like a burnt-out polaroid of all my favourite mystical 80s synth-pop moments – distant memories of youth, love affairs… wrapped with the (thankfully) wiser know-how of who I am today.” She notes that the track contravenes her instincts of seeking solace in “folksy” sounds, instead opting to create a powerful, energising synth-driven mood.
‘We Dance Alone’ is a beautifully conceived comeback album from an accomplished musician aiming to match the heights of previous music successes. The Norweigan’s fifth solo album was mixed by British producer Tim Bran, and is out now on all major platforms with a vinyl release also available in the UK.
Reviewed by Nagamag on
June 27, 2022
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