Release Date: Sep 4, 2015
Record label: N/A
Continuing a tradition of expansive Scandinavian pop, Ane Brun is 14 years into a prolific career, and on ‘When I’m Free’, we find her at her most settled. This record floats seamlessly with an almost impatient willingness to throw countless ideas, harnessed by one of the vocal performances of the year. In 2012, Ane toured and wrote to the extent that exhaustion set in.
Despite the veritable explosion of music that’s come our way from Scandinavia in recent years, we’re still waiting for Ane Brun to make her long-awaited commercial breakthrough. The Stockhom-based Norwegian has carved quite the career out for herself in the last 12 years, and she’s now at the sort of level of fame that means you may well recognise her voice from an advert without actually knowing who she is. That could all change with Brun’s seventh album, When I’m Free, possibly her most complete album to date.
A star in her adopted home of Sweden, with a string of impressive collaborations (Peter Gabriel, US composer Nico Muhly) under her belt, Ane Brun is still probably best known in the UK for an incongruous vocal turn on dance hit Can’t Stop Playing (Makes Me High) earlier this year. Her sixth solo album finds her back on more familiar territory; sumptuously arranged pop songs that cast her variously as soulful crooner, 1980s balladeer, and Kate Bush-indebted force of nature. There are plenty of big tunes here and no shortage of chest-beating, but too often Brun’s lyrics bring things down with a bump, shooting for emotional sincerity but drifting into tepid platitudes.