This may be something of a late introduction, but I imagine for many (including myself), Anna Ternheim is a new name. The Swedish singer/songwriter has released several albums, including a US debut last year, but now she seems to be making a more forceful attempt to break into the North American market which is why I had the pleasure of hearing her new record, Leaving On a Mayday. Ternheim creates dark, edgy music with plenty of beautiful and clever instrumental compositions enhancing her troubled romantic poetry, and her home country has taken notice, honoring her with numerous awards including several Swedish Grammys. Her latest collection of tunes makes it easy to hear what the fuss is all about, as Ternheim's talent produces some excellent results among the 44 minutes of delightfully quirky indie pop music.
Starting the record and released as the first single, "What Have I Done" immediately impresses with it's striking string arrangements and heavy bass line behind a mesmerizing vocal melody. Ternheim may often come across as bitter or angry in her lyricism but her silky smooth voice is nothing short of seductive, and the contrast is frequently quite intriguing. The dreamy "Terrified," the driving, tribal "Make It On My Own" and the melancholy folk number "Off the Road" are all highlights on an album that is not only consistent in quality, but feels remarkably cohesive as well. The songs feature a variety of instruments and are filled with subtle flourishes, but nothing ever feels overdone or unnecessarily busy, which brings a feeling of maturity to the album that can partially be accredited to the excellent production of fellow Swede Bjorn Yttling (of Peter Bjorn & John fame).
I would bet we'll be hearing more from and about this exciting artist soon as Leaving On a Mayday is yet another excellent record arriving from a country that has cemented itself as a steady source of worthwhile musical imports. If you haven't heard of Anna Ternheim by now, you would do well to check out the song "What Have I Done" below and head over to her MySpace page to hear more.
What Have I Done (MP3)