You might recognise the voice of nineteen year old Aurora; she was the soundtrack to last year’s John Lewis Christmas advert, Man On The Moon. Equal parts alarming and charming, the singer’s auspicious vocals make for bright yet troubled listening; and her debut album, All My Demons Greeting Me As a Friend, is a collection of shadowy electronic lullabies.
The Norwegian singer shares her name with the natural light phenomenon, a link which manifests itself in her song titles; ‘Running With The Wolves’, ‘Winter Bird’ and ‘Through The Eyes Of a Child’ – names and themes which are also reminiscent of the supernatural splendour of the inimitable Kate Bush. She opens her album with mesmeric vocals on ‘Runaway’, which leads tentatively in to the stomping beat of ‘Conqueror’. Despite her youth, Aurora is the hunter, not the hunted; and on ‘Running With The Wolves’ her wise spirit speaks with confidence over galloping rhythms – “I walk alone, I’m everything…”
The songwriter often strays in to the fantastical, but on ‘Lucky’ she embraces reality –“When I am down, I lay my hand upon this ground” – a simple but essential act of reconnection and gratitude which makes her feel “lucky to be alive”. ‘Winter Bird’ has a timid opening, but Aurora sleepwalks her way through the track – “My tears are always frozen”- cold, distant, but delicate lyricism is underscored by gentle electronics.
The remorseful ‘I Went Too Far’ begins with pensive piano, as Aurora reveals “I kissed the ground beneath your feet, standing in my blood, it was a taste of bitter sweet…” – her evident desperation for another to make her “feel whole” rises and falls with the tracks tempo, like a hungry heartbeat. The singer’s sensitivity is both a blessing and a burden – “I fall asleep in my own tears, I cry for the world for everyone…” – but she channels her vulnerability into fierce songs like ‘Warrior’, and the morbid but oddly upbeat ‘Murder Song (5,4,3,2,1)’.
On ‘Home’ she speaks tender, comforting truths; “Wrapped inside a cocoon made of flesh and bones, doesn’t really matter where you come from” – before diving in to ambiguities on ‘Under The Water’ – “Why do we jump in?”. Synths crash on this track like the waves she describes, designed to “wash away the sins” still troubling her listeners. ‘Black Water Lilies’ closes the album, and is a sparkling example of the singer’s ability to deliver meandering, narrative-led songs.
Haunted but fearless; Aurora exorcises her demons through electronic, ambient melodies on her alluring debut. Fans of Emilie Nicolas and Kate Bush will approve.
All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend is released on 11th March via Decca Records.