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It has fascinated me how certain modern popular music has been defined by its geographical origins. The bleak late '70s in the north of England spawned many post-punk acts, whilst a few years ago all of the acclaimed garage-rock bands seemed to come from San Francisco. In recent years the sprawl of Scandinavia as given a lot of great music, much of it made by solo females and clumped together under a 'Scandi-pop' banner - and whilst none of these sound like clones of each other, they are geographically and musically coming from the same place.

The latest of these artists to make an impact is Ellen A.W. Sundes, aka Sea Change, who wrote and recorded Breakage - her debut album - alone in her Oslo bedroom. Despite this – or maybe because of this – Breakage sounds great, Endre Kirkesola's mix is lush and multi-layered and the songs are dynamic, well-crafted and immersive.

Sundes may well have chosen to name herself after Beck's beautifully downbeat album Sea Change, but the fact that she has chosen to work within the field of synth-pop means that it she isn't simply following on its coat-tails. It is fair to say that, where the Beck opus created a distinctly woozy melancholic mood, Sea Change's debut full length definitely captures a similar mood.

A lot of the music has an atmospheric, icy feel; "I am cold and fearless" is the first line of the moody epic 'Fearless' whilst opening track 'Wooden House' manages to come across as both lush and tense. This feeling of being on edge comes across at various points, for instance 'Knives' has a menacing, creepy intro and Ellen's vocal sounds more unhinged, and 'Stairs' has a dreamy vocal which builds towards more anxiety ("If I go downstairs I will not come back"). The lyrics tend to creep out at you after a few listens, as her voice blends so well with the music, but when they hit you, they make an impact. Sundes has said that "Breakage means the act of breaking or the state of being broken. Something must be broken to be able to go to a new place. For me, that's a place where I can do what I need to do. I feel that with this album an old age is over and I'm ready for a new chapter." 'We Run' seems to confirm this, with its steadily throbbing pulse and optimistic yet yearning melody.

Apart from all this tension, Breakage is also a melodically rich album, and the two shorter tracks, 'Above' and the darker 'Squares', are catchy yet brittle pop with a definite '80s influence. 'Let's Dance' builds into an ambitious track, worthy of a much more expensive production. The lovely ambient drift of 'Raan' brings a positive calm to the conclusion of the album, with a constant emphasis on heartbeats, both in the lyrics and in the programmed percussion.

Breakage sits as a complete body of work, and on first few listens it is difficult to distinguish where each of the nine tracks begin and end, they all flow together so well. This is a superb debut offering and one that will reveals more on each listen.

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