Sucker Punch

BY Brad GarciaPublished Feb 28, 2019

When you've already garnered international acclaim and indisputable commercial success before the release of your debut album, the expectations that follow are likely unrealistic. So why comply entirely when there's still a chance to explore?
On Sucker Punch, Sigrid dips her toes in a slightly less mainstream current in order to navigate the space between Top 40 success and indie pop credibility.
Emotionally driven, hook-heavy pop songs make up the bulk of the tracklist, and yet few breakout pop albums are as cleverly nuanced as this. That is to say, its diversity is never a distraction.
There's a consistency in the way Sigrid catches listeners off guard, and she does so in a way that retains cohesion — never deviating from the easy-to-listen-to approach that makes her music so enticing. "Basic," one of several upbeat dance numbers, is brought to a halt when a stripped-down, lo-fi bridge takes control. The barebones guitar and vocal approach to "In Vain" eventually explodes into an anthemic, instrumentally rich climax. It's a way of acknowledging that she could take a niche approach — perhaps a nod to the musically pretentious —  while understanding it's in her best interest to cater to the masses.
However, as to be expected with any pop record, repetitiveness is an unavoidable threat— if not because of the songs themselves, then because we've heard the tropes elsewhere, time and again. Songs like "Don't Feel Like Crying," and "Sight of You," (each driven by staccato string sections), evoke a playfulness I can only associate with Carly Rae Jepsen. A lot of these songs also cycle through a stunted catalogue of polyrhythmic beats — a trend I can only assume will become passé sooner than later.
When the Norwegian singer is at her best, her eccentric singing style is front and centre. Within a single measure, her voice can shift from soft and disjointed, to confident and bubbly, to powerful and demanding. Once in a while, like on the aforementioned "In Vain," there's even a harsh smokiness to her voice, which some may find surprising upon first listen.
Though it may seem as though she's yet to fully embrace her uniqueness in mainstream spaces, there are plenty of moments on Sucker Punch that suggest Sigrid is on her way.
(Island Records)

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