Born in 1996, most people will know Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora Aksnes’ voice from the somewhat ill-advised cover of Oasis’ Half The World Away,used in a famous mawkish advert.She’s currently much better known in Europe, but that’s all set to change. Thankfully, much of her music is far more interesting than that commercial would suggest. She finds ‘nature and people’ fascinating, particularly the duality of beauty and cruelty.
Her voice is pure, folky, and quite startling, but her niggling synth sound ensures an undercurrent of something creepy. It’s as though Nick Cave sired a child with Julee Cruise, and they locked her in a shed, playing mid-period Depeche Mode constantly .
Her image too is intriguing, that of a kind of Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter’s barely there wisp of a girl, or a small ghostly schoolchild from a Guillermo del Toro film, all vintage clothes and a pale blue bob. As she sings, she inhabits her ethereal landscapes, acting out scenarios in awkward clawing mimes, clearly inspired by the way Bjork moves.
Puppet and Awakening were her first releases, but it was the exquisite, twinkly Runaway which brought her to a wider UK / US audience, and also scored her a famous fan in the shape of one Katy Perry, who praised her in glowing terms on social media.
Much murkier territory is explored in third single Murder Song (5,4,3,2,1) where she sings of being murdered, like Muriel Sparks’ Lise in The Driver’s Seat.
”He did it all to spare me from all the awful things in life”, she sings eerily, detached, until she howls and her wide eyes seem to close. It’s deeply unsettling, and not without controversy, coming from a young woman.
Her first album is released in in Britain in March, and with such a striking talent and look, she should be a heartbreaker of sad-eyed indie boys and girls all over the globe come the end of the year. Hopefully massive mainstream success will come her way too, but she may be too much of a curveball for some people- too clever, too icy. Their loss.