275 Pentonville Road
London N1 9NL
7.30 pm (doors)
Anyone who has heard her deeply personal, impeccably crafted songs will not be surprised. Two of Sundfør’s albums – The Brothel (2010) and The Silicone Veil (2012) – have hit the number-one spot in Norway, and the UK music press has been heaping on the accolades since the Oslo-based artist first came to international attention. The Guardian has called her work ‘utterly magnificent’, The Quietus marks her as ‘an artist whose every word and note has gravitas’ and even The Sun has found her music to be ‘strange and beautiful.’
Her Scala show comes just two weeks after the release of Sundfør’s sixth album, Ten Love Songs. Given the standards set by her previous work – notably her collaboration on Røyksopp’s ‘Running to the Sea’ and her astonishing vocals on M83’s soundtrack to the 2013 film Oblivion – expectations were running high.
She has not only met but surpassed them, producing a compelling and ambitious pop album that has a broad musical appeal but is nonetheless utterly, uncompromisingly her own. Every track has its own power and grandeur, but it’s the album’s centrepiece, the 10-minute ‘Memorial’ that marks her most significant achievement. It’s a sweeping giant of a song, the mournful vocals of the opening giving way to a heartbreakingly beautiful and forlorn fantasia for chamber orchestra and piano that, although wordless, expresses longing, dejection and pain as potently as any lyrics could.
Given the waves made by Ten Love Songs, tickets for Sundfør’s Scala concert are likely to be in short supply, but if you do miss out, there should be some comfort in the fact that, if her rise continues at this pace, there will be plenty of other opportunities to catch the Norwegian megastar in action. Make sure you take one.