Sigrid: Sucker Punch review – Rise to superstardom starts here

Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 06:00

   
 

Album:
Sucker Punch

Artist:
Sigrid

Label:
Island

Genre:
Pop

Over the last two years, Norwegian popstar Sigrid has garnered more acclaim and adoration than most artists achieve in a lifetime – and all before releasing her highly anticipated debut album.

Sucker Punch arrives in a haze of hype few records could live up to but Sigrid’s high-energy electro-pop arrangements, brimming with floor-rumbling rhythms and anthemic choruses, and the sheer quality of her music on this exceptionally cohesive LP, is enough to slay even the most fervent of doubters.

But let’s rewind to 2017, when, in 13 minutes and four songs, Sigrid emerged as a relatively unknown singer, outside of her native Norway, to become the name dropped into conversations with music-savvy friends, as though she was your discovery. Her debut EP, Don’t Kill My Vibe, introduced the then 20-year-old artist as someone spurred by a spirited defiance and desire to defy convention.

A striking wilfulness, underpinned by empowering messages, sets Sigrid apart from many of her contemporaries. Thematically, Sucker Punch endorses self-worth and champions individualism, all set to the tune of effervescent synthpop, which is not entirely dissimilar to Robyn’s ability to recast emotional strife into radio-ready hits.

The influence of the fellow Scandinavian singer is apparent in the motorik beat, silvery synth lines and stomping chorus of Strangers, the standout song on the record. Here, universal experiences of misaligned affection – “We’re falling head over heels for something that ain’t real” – are articulated through such impassioned vocals that it’s easy to imagine a stadium in summer joining in on this euphoric number.

Elsewhere, the gorgeous slumbered tempo of Never Mine offers a welcome change of pace. It succeeds in showing that Sigrid isn’t tied to a particular rhythm. More of that seductive soundscape, instead of Business Dinners’ sickeningly-sugary arrangement, would have made for a better dynamic across the 12 songs.

The melodic range, from swirling strings on Sight Of You to infectious guitar-licks on the title track, always complement Sigrid’s distinctive vocals. She regularly shifts between a smooth cadence before the chords in her throat crack when delivering potent lines; “So don’t you stay, if you don’t mean it. If you don’t feel it,” she snarls on In Vain.

There’s a pragmatic stance on relationships articulated through plain-spoken lyricism. On Mine Right Now, a powerful 1980s-flavoured melody fused with shimmering synths, Sigrid revels in the freedom of dating: “Hey, it’s alright if we don’t end up together because you’re mine right now.”

When the forecasted demise eventually occurs, you won’t find her bleary-eyed and gorging on pizza. Instead, there’s an optimistic spin on heartache – “Wallowing in it would be such a waste,” she declares through a wry smile on the marvellously upbeat break-up anthem, Don’t Feel Like Crying.

Aside from matters of the heart, Sigrid’s infectious positive attitude is front and centre. Lead single Don’t Kill My Vibe is a biting address that will have you rooting for her from the offset. “You speak to me like a child,” she sings over staggered piano chords before vehemently asserting; “I wanted you to know that you don’t belong here.”

Sucker Punch solidifies Sigrid’s status as today’s most exciting and relatable artist. Her ascent to superstardom seems guaranteed.