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Therese Aune - Billowing Shadows, Flickering Light (Review)

Therese Aune, Billowing Shadows, Flickering Light

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

THERESE Aune is fast developing a name for herself at festivals around the world, having successfully delivered her brand of spectral pop to crowds at the Berlin Festival, Iceland Airwaves Festival and SXSW.

Yet her debut album Billowing Shadows, Flickering Light remains something of an acquired taste. It’s meticulously put together and gives rise to moments of slow-build, intricately layered spectral beauty.

But it lacks immediacy. And you have to be in the right frame of mind to best appreciate it, with time to devote to everything that it has to offer.

A track like Vapid House, for instance, clocks in at a little over six minutes and features some stunning musical arrangements (courtesy of strings and pianos). But it takes all of its six minutes to fully realise its beauty. It nevertheless remains an album highlight.

Having built up to a high at the end of the track, though, Silent Song follows and immediately takes things back down, and unfolds in solemn fashion. It’s sometimes asking a little too much to start over, no matter how well things unfold.

It’s a shame because in its finest moments, there’s cinematic scope and beauty to savour. In My Quiet Place, another favourite, speaks to the joy that can come from finding a spot to call your own, where you can gather your thoughts and freedom.

Again, the track starts softly, a pastoral tone poem of piano, cello and violin spinning a gentle spell until the drums kick in sending Aune’s wordless vocals soaring.

Through The Darkness, meanwhile, has an almost ethereal quality about its vocals and encapsulates the sound of Aune’s home country, Norway… a sombre, cinematic violin weaving its way hypnotically throughout.

And We Will Never Be the Ones catches you off-guard late on with snappy hand-clap beats, glockenspiel-style beats and a bouncing central piano melody that strikes a nice contrast with Aune’s spectral vocals.

Put together, Billowing Shadows, Flickering Lights is never less than fascinating. And while it can be hard work at times, there are moments that deliver big rewards.

Download picks: Vapid House, In My Quiet Place, We Will Never Be the Ones

Track listing:

  1. Grey Ghost
  2. Vapid House
  3. Silent Song
  4. Myself As A Child
  5. Chameleon
  6. The Lonely Ocean Roar
  7. Through The Darkness
  8. We Will Never Be The Ones
  9. Broken Bird