With her 2015 debut, Til it's All Forgotten, Berlin-based Norwegian musician Kari Jahnsen (who records as Farao) established herself as an electro-folk artist. Three years later, her sophomore album Pure-O sees her returning with a somewhat refurbished sound.

Retaining the most basic elements of her previous album, she pushes her music in an alternative-pop direction. Rather than a rebranding, it feels more like a logical progression from an artist not afraid to explore other horizons.

At the very least you expect sophomore albums (especially from pop artists) to take a few risks or be somewhat ambitious, and that's where Pure-O is somewhat hit-or-miss. It's sultry pop album centered around themes of the dichotomy between beauty and destructiveness in sex and relationships. 'Lula Loves You' takes its name and subject matter from David Lynch’s Wild at Heart, and 'Triumph Over Me,' was inspired by the sex-addicted main character of the film Shame.

Even without knowing those themes or the influences behind them, the music can still be appreciated on its own, and it has its moments. Pulling from her love of old Soviet disco, vintage analog synthesizers, and sensual 90s R&B, Pure-O is an immaculately produced collection boasting a vintage feel filtered through a modern lens.

Opener ‘Marry Me’ is a dreamy swirling mid-temp disco number; 'Luster Of The Eyes' twinkles with overlapping arpeggiated synths, and the mix of programmed beats and bursts of live drumming on 'Get Along' gives it a choppy funky groove that nudges it just out of the realm of conventional pop.

The use of live and programmed beats, a dozen or so models of synthesizers and controllers, and zither gives the music proper depth and moments of beauty, as does Jahnsen's voice. But even for all of the lush and layered arrangements, what Pure-O lacks above all are the kind of nuances needed to help it stand apart from its obvious influences past and present.

Jahnsen proves she has some creative ideas as a songwriter and musician, but those ideas don't always translate how they are meant to. Still, the stronger songs and her gradual transformation as an artist offers thrilling glimpses of Farao coming further into her own.