Slow Music Review: Hanne Kolstø – Forever Maybe

This week I’m running late on my Appraisal. You’ll have to bear with me; it’s been a busy week. It’s almost there so will likely make an appearance tomorrow but in the mean time here’s a review of my favourite album of 2014. I know I don’t normally do reviews but this album is so utterly amazing I just had to share it with you all. Plus it’s snowing outside. That’s a reason if ever there was one. It’s probably best not to question why I’ve called this ‘Slow Music Review’, the album isn’t slow at all, it’s just something I’m working on… So without further ado, I present to you; Hanne Kolstø – Forever maybe.

It’s always the way; just when you begin to look back and order the previous year’s musical offerings into convenient top ten lists, an album arrives and throws everything out of joint. Yet here we stand with ‘Forever Maybe’ by Hanne Kolstø; a work released right at the years death and filled to the brim with songs of joy and warmth. This fourth album in as many years from the prolific Norwegian blends reverb-drenched electronica with accents of sonic clarity to create a genuinely uplifting listening experience. A rallying cry for all those lost souls who still believe in the subversion of pop.

You see; this is most definitely a pop album, you merely have to listen to the relentless synth beds and idiotically catchy bass-lines to see that. Yet Kolstø is not a traditional pop artist; at least not by the standards of today, and it is this friction that drives the album. You sense a healthy respect for acts like late-80’s Madonna (‘Oh Father‘ springs to mind) but not a deference. Kolstø is going to do pop her way. Bending the sound to her will and creating something fresh in the process. A song like ‘Synnecrosis’ resolutely beating to its own drum even if it’s one borrowed from Annie Lennox and played within a malfunctioning clock.

It’s just so rare to come across an album with a sonic texture this dense pulled off so effortlessly. You can feel the love that has been put into the mix and the craft that has gone into every sound. Lead-off single ‘We Don’t See Ourselves‘ being a particular highlight with it’s insistent drum patterns burrowing into your ears before freeing you to into a sumptuous dawn of a chorus. I feel woken from a stupor with renewed hope that an album with such a personality as this can exist in our cynical, image obsessed world. It gives me hope for the year ahead.

Real talk: I literally have been listening to it solidly since it’s release. That hasn’t happened in a while. It’s a nice feeling.

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