Never has being associated with a brand helped an artist so much. The fragile yet strong voice of AURORA was launched onto the screens of millions with her version of ‘Half the World Away’ that was featured as the soundtrack to the 2015 John Lewis Christmas television advert. Since then, the Norwegian teenager has released her debut album All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend.
The album makes a subtle entrance. Murmurs grow into the vocals, “I was listening to the ocean/I saw a face in the sand,” with the mere addition of a single rhythmical drum beat slowly developing throughout the track. Whilst the message of the track is powerful, the strength that is seen in other tracks is somewhat lacking in ‘Runaway’. However, it does act as a good showcase of her capabilities.
Tracks that do demonstrate this fragile yet strong tone of voice appropriately include ‘Warrior’ and ‘Conqueror.’ Both are faster in tempo than the majority of the album, and are aided by various rhythmic sections of percussion. The lyrics present a streak of independence and robustness; “I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah/Warrior, warrior of love…” in ‘Warrior’ and “I feel alive” in ‘Conqueror’. The vocals continue to be of an especially technically high quality. Undoubtedly, AURORA’s voice is exceptional for someone so young.
In contrast, a high degree of vulnerability is shown in ‘Through the Eyes of a Child’. Soft, silky melodies are accompanied by limited, but effective piano. Chilling. It’s tracks like this on the album that, for me personally, captivate. In addition, a real sense of AURORA’s Scandinavian roots is generated. She’s one of a growing number of Scandinavian artists to be breaking into the British music scene, and she achieves this with relative success.
Unsurprisingly, the advert cover ‘Half the World Away’ features on the deluxe production of the album. And why shouldn’t it? The stance is original and effective. It touched the hearts of many and created awareness of AURORA herself. Its inclusion is fitting.
All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend has received generally positive feedback from critics. I second this – as a debut album from a 19 year old it is impressive and well-constructed, but AURORA certainly has more to give, and this will be exciting to watch over the coming years. The vocals, lyrics and accompaniment are thoughtful and show a great deal of technical flexibility. Global success is certainly not ‘Half the world away’…By Rachel Moore