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AURORA

NORWEGIAN SONGBIRD PERMEATES MUSICAL DIMENSIONS WITH REMARKABLE NEW ALBUM 'THE GODS WE CAN TOUCH'

TEXT BY
MAXIMILLION FOY

28.01.22

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‘Etherial’ is a word that is thrown around the Art Pop world with abandon nowadays. Meaning delicate in a way that seems otherworldly, it lends itself keenly to the elegant soundscapes one associates with the genre. Many artists fall under this umbrella -Austra, Iamamiwhoami, Shura etc - but few typify the words true essence like Aurora Aksnes. Her glacial looks, cherubic features, and picturesque calmness, seem like a snapshot of an apparition trapped between this world and the next. But there are layers upon layers to the artistry of AURORA, and with her third album ‘The Gods We Can Touch’, we find her pushing through the realms and into the real world. For the uninitiated, Norwegian chanteuse AURORA shot to worldwide fame with her haunting sleeper hit ‘Runaway’. Shimmering like a remote Norwegian lake, the song struck a chord with the masses and has rung up a mind blowing 354 million views on YouTube and nearly 500 million plays on Spotify - big business for such an intimate act. A couple of stirring Eps and albums later, and AURORA had set herself apart from the crowd as a pop artist with an wonderfully unique snow-capped aesthetic, an intellectual resonance, and a subtle humor that peppers her work. AURORA is also a seasoned performer with a fully developed penchant for the theatrical - as is evident from the swirling choral sequence that welcomes the listener to this album.

The palpable darkness and aching honesty of ’Everything Matters’ is an immediate indicator that we are dealing with an artist in the midst of a striking growth spurt. Measured and delivered with silk like softness, the full emotional range of AURORA is laid out bare before the bottom opens up and we drop in to ‘Giving In To Love’. It’s a cinematic spread that stimulates the senses in anthemic fashion - and climaxes with a soaring vocal that calls to mind the lost queen of Irish rock Delores O'Riordan.

‘Cure For Me’ is most definitely the chart accosting banger of the record. Like contemporaries Sigrid and Billie Eilish, AURORA has a great talent for wrapping youthful defiance up in a delightfully accessible package. The bursts of bright, fun pop sit harmoniously beside the Nordic quirk of the singer with little effort, AURORA is commanding enough of an artist to juggle fine margins and make deft musical decisions. ‘You Keep Me Crawling’ and ‘Exist For Love’ tackle love and lust from opposite ends of the spectrum. The former is loud, lamentful, and stirring, while the latter plucks and purrs with sweeping serenity. AURORA is clearly fluent in many musical languages, and calls upon them like a skilled interpreter.

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‘Heathens’ pumps and pulses with percussive bombast and brings the Nordic folk trappings of her previous outings to the forefront. This song, as a double act with the flawless and energetic Euro pop flair of ‘The Innocent’, typifies what this album does best - tapping into a fertile spring of creative and unexpected musical motifs and using a modern lens to fashion a gripping and riveting contemporary sound.

‘The Gods We Can Touch’ continues this impressive streak all the way through it’s exhaustive fifteen tracks, offering up new sonic wonders and clever takes at every turn. From the synth-rock energy of ‘Temporary High’, to the cathartic release of ‘Blood In The Wine’, and on to the emotional climax that is ‘This Could Be A Dream’, it’s clear that this is an album of impossibly strong material. There is a huge array of diverse sounds on offer here, so much that at times the senses can be dulled by too much of a good thing. The listener may feel the need to pull back and collect themselves before diving back in, not that there's anything wrong with consuming this collection of songs in a more digestible manner. Simply put, if you are an established AURORA fan there is a veritable feast on offer here.

“Something about you is soft like an angel, And something inside you is violence and danger” are words that sum up AURORA’s journey on ‘The Gods We Can Touch’. The level of mature song craft on show belies the fact that this evergreen artist is still only twenty five years old. Indeed the duality that exists in this collection of songs, the middle ground between youthful naivety and experienced wisdom, is blissfully intriguing. There is still a beautifully ethereal quality to AURORA’s music, but this third album see’s her solidify from an otherworldly figure to a fully realized star.

‘The Gods We Can Touch’ by AURORA is available on all platforms now.

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