Record review: Lorde – Pure Heroine (2013, LP)

Lorde

And we’ll never be royals… ROYYYY-ALLS!” Yes, we’ve all heard that song what seems like several thousand times in the past couple of months, and the singer responsible is sixteen year-old New Zealander Ella Yelich-O’Connor, a.k.a. Lorde. Much has been made of the fact an artist of such tender years has made big waves in the American and Australian charts, but this is a surprisingly mature album and deserves the attention it’s been getting. Filled with dark but generally upbeat subject matter and shadowy synth loops to match, Pure Heroine recalls the sounds of the likes of The xx and London Grammar, and as you listen to the album, the expected slump in quality or the dreaded mid-album filler just never comes. Single ‘Tennis Court’ is a good way to start and shows that there’s a pop sensibility to what she does, to go with lyrics like “We’re so happy, even when we’re smiling out of fear.” That single features in third spot, and while it possesses the catchiest chorus, it’s not overly representative of the album as a whole. Closer ‘A World Alone’ confirms the singer’s vocal prowess, and when coupled with a mesmerising guitar line, makes for possibly the best song here. The star of the show throughout is the singer’s voice; it switches from smouldering to soaring and back with apparent ease, and should be the element that ensures a long career. Having been signed to Universal since she was thirteen, Lorde isn’t the overnight sensation that she might appear to be, but this would be an impressive and accomplished album even if it were made by a seasoned pro, never mind someone still at school. (Universal)

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