Orphan Ann The Practice of Surrender

Orphan Ann The Practice of Surrender
4
This debut from duo Sofia Al Rammal Sturdza and Anja Enerud aims high with electronic drones, samples and a dramatic mix of chants, screams and more.
 
It opens with real promise — an understated, incessant drum beat keeps time under meditative chants and dark, atmospheric synth lines. "Vi är överallt" progresses slowly over its five minutes, which serves as a kind of overture of what's to come. The album's title track follows, with an invitation to follow Sturdza and Enerud deep into their take on a heart of darkness. But after a minute or so of ghostly monotone invitations to surrender, the mood shifts from Nordic goth to Wicked-Witch-of-the-North campy.
 
That's a difficult thing to recover from. And the remainder of the disc shows no indication that the duo feels any need to. The screams dominating "Du kommer aldrig nära igen" are more cringe-inducing than dramatic. The howling crowd on "Den stora knullfesten" is so blatant a reference to Hollywood cinema that it serves only as a distraction.
 
In keeping with that theme, the synth performances — on this and other tracks — are cumbersome and overdone. The whole thing would work better as a John Carpenter soundtrack. (Moloton)