A Temporary Dive – Ane Brun

Label: V2

Talk of Britain and first impressions and you’re probably just as likely to hear mention of suffocating motorways, inappropriate overflowing landfill sites and unhelpfully grey skies as you are our worrying slide back in the direction of scary great hulking nuclear power stations. Yeah, depressing. Scandinavia isn’t like that though. Well, maybe it is, but in our stereotypical mind’s eye it certainly isn’t. We’re thinking snow kisses, pure crisp air, unending strokes from nature’s fine-tipped brush, and windmills. Lots of pretty windmills. And if it’s not at all like this, which we will continue to insist is impossible, artists like Norwegian-born Swedish resident Ane Brun do nothing to put us right. She has a voice that could only be born amid such idyllic conditions, and that could surely only exist with such detoxifying air passing through her precious lungs.

She’s akin to our own Kathryn Williams, and not unlike Damien Rice’s toiled simplicity, taking your hand with a tender grip and leading you through her songs with and orderly momentum and spellbinding clarity, an unexplainably intoxicating characteristic, a beckoning warmth that some just seem blessed with. Though she does make use of a sharper kick in the back of her bewitching tones, icier, craggier, more detached perhaps, like the stereotyped surroundings we mentioned earlier. It can stand up with a divine solitude and in that context reminds us of Beth Gibbons, especially on the title track, with the curled country inflection of perhaps Tanya Donnelly.

Her words are elevated throughout on a sparse bed of twinkling guitars, plucking their way sometimes urgently, sometimes with a taut posture, sometimes less so, a little sleepily, a little transfixed. Opening track ‘To Let Myself Go’ is haunting and tight, sounding regretful and alone, amid cold sprinkles of piano, a feeling that carries on through into ‘Rubber & Soul’ reminding a little of Tori Amos. One of the album’s true highlights is the heart-wrenched ‘My Lover Will Go’, supplemented by subtle sad strings and sounding part Jeff Buckley heartbreak ballad and part true downtrodden soul diva. It’s a moment when she raises her game and the emotions beautifully, barely having to raise the volume. Doing tremendous work on behalf of the Norwegian Tourist Board.      

Release: Ane Brun - A Temporary Dive
Review by:
Released: 28 May 2006