Norwegian native Thea Glenton Raknes, better known as Thea & The Wild has been recording and releasing under the moniker since her jubilant debut Strangers and Lovers back in 2014. She returns with latest offering Ikaros and ventures into the mythological to create an album that is magical, mysterious and, often, marvelous.

Whilst Thea’s songwriting came from an insular perspective on her first record, the years have matured her outlook as she considers the tremulous world around her on lead single ‘City Of Gold’. This track has a counter narrative to its whimsical title, based around asylum seekers who have been granted access and are waiting for their appropriate papers. These heavy themes are veiled in wonky, muffled synth and equally wobbly guitar riffs. The vocal turns serious subject into glistening Scandi-pop, Raknes vocal demonstrating a joyous frivolity in its final throes.

Thea also opens her eyes elsewhere and looks towards her influences, strong females who helped ‘Pave The Way’ for her music. It has the bold prowess of Patti Smith’s ‘Gloria’ and the alluring femininity of Annie Lennox. It has strength, attitude and a rousing outro of Goldfrapp-esque magnitude, one of the curious moments where the sound seems to genuinely shimmer.

Sadly not everything is quite so bright, ‘The Wars’ has strong production values and its delivery feels impassioned yet the lyrics tire quickly. Equally, ‘Power Is A Lonely Place’, a track inspired by scientology followers, is rousing with warm harmonies yet it doesn’t hold attention. The following track ‘Where Did You Go?’ is far more commanding, its rolling drums evoke thoughts of 80s power balladeer Bonnie Tyler with the witchy qualities of Stevie Nicks. A percussive breakdown and howl-like vocal performance gives this a generally ritualistic tone, its piano keys seem to be lifted straight from the 70s-disco of Chaka Khan and offset the dark well. The closing track ‘Medicine’ is also high-glamour, almost a reprise of ‘City Of Gold’ in terms of beat yet its chorus is far more sensual. It utilises vocal layering to pay homage dark-pop pioneers ABBA lightheartedness of Thea’s vocal range makes you ponder what a Florence Welch disco record may sound like. If anything like this, very strong indeed.

There are two moments on this album that demonstrate Thea’s improved understanding of dream pop, the urgent ‘When a Kiss Becomes a Habit’ where her heartbreak confessional is drowned beneath rampant strings and hand claps. And the other, spectacular album opener ‘Dark Horse’ has all the eccentricity of a The Dreaming Kate Bush yet the aerial vocals are grounded by the steady percussive beats of its choral hook and retains some of the folk-pop spaciousness.

A nine track album is a bold statement in the current climes of more content = more streams. It’s presenting quality over quality and in many cases this sentiment rings true on Ikaros. It has a consistent style running through its core enhanced by its mythological musings and inherently female perspective. When Thea allows both her songwriting and production to wander to the dimmest corners of the dancefloor, this record ironically shines brightest.