Anna Of The North

If Anna Lotterud’s 2017 debut lacked distinction, that was partly down to the number of other Scandinavian women operating in similarly frosty fields. Lovers fetishised the 80s effectively, but lacked enough character to justify its debts to the era, its songs eager to please but more humdrum than hummable.

Still, what a difference two years make. Its follow-up, Dream Girl, is almost as flawless as its title suggests, a candied concoction of precisely engineered melodies, charming – and sometimes strikingly candid – lyrics, and a sound so crystal clear and smooth you could skate on it.

Furthermore, despite the fact she’s now 28, Lotterud somehow captures the innocent, nervous pleasures and pain of one’s early love affairs. As she sings on the playfully childish Interlude – a simple playground chant full of quirky, high-pitched voices – “Maybe I should kinda tell you all the things I feel/ ‘Cos maybe there’s a tiny chance you feel the same as me.”

The title track provides the best example of such gaiety, though, by combining Lily Allen’s occasional sweet naivety with the fleet-footed soul Amy Winehouse sometimes offered, all the time flitting guilelessly between flattering infatuation and stalker obsession. My Love, too, is a delicious slice of delicate disco which, though it’s slower and gentler, still recalls Diana Ross’ disco peak with its “Round and round/ Upside down” chorus. What We Do, meanwhile, recalls Minnie Riperton’s Lovin’ You, and she plays subdued on the regretful Time To Get Over It and the luscious Reasons, which features fellow Norwegian Andreas Høvset (aka Charlie Skien). Her debt to the 80s remains substantial, of course – Lonely Life even reclaims the urbane jazz-funk of acts like Curiosity Killed The Cat – but no one’s calling the debt in, even if they called her out last time.

8/10

Wyndham Wallace

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