Let's open with a cliché. Good things come to those who wait and so, while the release of Kate Havnevik's third album, &I (her last one was called You, see?), has been pushed back to the end of February next year, our advance listen to the majority of its tracks confirms that the Norwegian singer-songwriter has lost none of her stunning cinematic popscape. Guy Sigsworth is, once more, the main collaborator on the record and, as the titular continuation hints at, &I picks up where things were left off in 2011 but with a current twist to the sound and nothing you could accuse as being filler.
Where recent offering, 'Micronation', had a bright and upbeat mood, Havenvik's brand new single, 'Emperor Of Nowhere', treads a much darker path, slowing things down to a dense mid-tempo and retaining a strong melody throughout.
There's no doubt that the song's protagonist has some issues: "You're the author of this nightmare... you're the emperor of nowhere and no one gets out alive from here." Or is the character here undertaking an introspective self-sermon? You'll be the judge.
The accompanying visuals, receiving a world premiere here on The 405, are powerful and eye-catching. Directed by long-term Havnevik collaborator, Icelandic artist Gotti Sigurdarson, the singer looks like the Fever Ray album artwork brought to life. Marion Corbett's body-painting together with Insuk Han and Kunico Maeda's arty set portray Nowhere and its inhabitant in an engaging and eerie way.
All in all, a job very, very well done.
&I is out on 23 February on Continentica Records.