If Kate Havnevik’s Melankton sounds like music by Imogen Heap, Björk, Múm, or any number of Euro electronic-pop acts like Rökysopp, Frou Frou, and Mandalay, there’s a reason. For one, the Norwegian singer-songwriter is credited with vocals and “creative input” on Rökysopp’s last album, The Understanding. And Melankton was co-produced by Guy Sigsworth, who has not only worked with Björk and Mandalay, but is, along with Imogen Heap, one-half of Frou Frou. If that isn’t enough sloppy seconds for ya, the song “Suckerlove” was co-written by Valgeir Sigurosson, who engineered Múm’s Finally We Are No More (though there’s no accounting for the strikingly curious similarities between “Suckerlove” and the Múm song “The Ballad Of The Broken Birdie Records,” which Sigurosson had no part of). To say that Melankton is a hodgepodge of sounds and influences would be an understatement, and Havnevik threw in everything but the kitchen sink on “I Don’t Know You” (the stuttering electronic percussion and lush string arrangement of which give way to horns and a propulsive 4/4 beat) and the epic, “Hyperballad”-esque “New Day” and “Timeless” (which both build to trance-anthem climaxes). But the album also happens to be a thoroughly consistent and enjoyable listen. The sparse arrangements on tracks like “Nowhere Warm” reveal surprisingly strong melodies, and Havnevik’s lyrics attempt to delve deeper than most new age electro-pop: the softly pulsing opening track, “Unlike Me,” features some Björkian philosophizing (“Time doesn’t really exist”), while the cinematic “Not Fair” ostensibly tells the tale of one of those casanovas who romance and rob lonely, middle-aged women who wind up on Dateline talking about how their retirement savings have disappeared.
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