Album Reviews: Melankton (Bonus Track) by Kate HavnevikAbout a year ago, when a breathy little electro-ballad called "Unlike Me" started turning up on iTunes, KCRW, and the Grey's Anatomy soundtrack, a lot of people probably thought, "Hey! A new Imogen Heap song!" Wrong. It's actually the work of a newcomer named Kate Havnevik, working with Heap's former partner in crime in Frou Frou, Guy Sigsworth.
Havnevik is half-English, half-Norwegian, so it's no surprise that her debut album, Melankton, easily mixes the softer sounds of British synth-pop pixies like Heap and Jem with darker shades borrowed from Bristolian trip-hop and Scandinavian art-pop. The Carmen Rizzo-produced "Travel in Time" swoons and sighs like one of Morcheeba's spy thriller seductions, while the cinematic strings of "Timeless" evoke the epic soundscapes of Sigur Ros, before the track erupts into a pulsating burst of synths worthy of Royksopp (with whom Havnevik has also worked).
Melankton never quite transcends its influences, and its middle section goes a bit slack from an overabundance of lush strings and piano ballads. But Kate Havnevik is clearly an artist to watch, blessed with an achingly pretty voice and a rare talent for mixing cutting-edge electronica with delicate, emotive chamber pop. Imogen Heap had better watch her back.
- Andy Hermann
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