If you’ve been reading these pages over the last few weeks, you’ll know that this Perfect Storm has been gathering momentum. Sweden’s Vanbot – whose very name sounds like the glorious mix of Scandi-pop and an automaton – has an array of immaculate, glass-like synth-pop ready to go. You only need to listen to recent releases Seven and The Way You Say It to know that.
But for all the steely aesthetics, Ester Ideskog’s approach feels very organic. Hooking up with Johannes Berglund (also responsible for the likes of I Break Horses), there’s a recognisable sound that somehow never sounds derivative. “There’s no one that will take you from me,” she cries on Trooper, starting the record off by replacing a genre-standard disaffectedness with a lot more heart. And, of course, there’s more than enough of her hometown flair on tracks like Better In The Light, one of the most thumping examples of Swedish pop the year has seen so far.
There are some moments the album could do without – Bite The Bullet slows her roll somewhat – and by the end there’s definitely a bit of synth-fatigue. But there’s no denying that this is an incredibly polished pop album. A little less dependence on the ‘bot’ part of Vanbot would be welcome next time, but for now this is a storm worth weathering.