In 2008 a young lady from Norway unleashed a song called ‘I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked‘ on the world. It was a cheeky little jangly pop gem and it aroused a lot of interest from all corners of the globe. The accompanying album – Fortress Round My Heart – was released to much acclaim and Ida Maria became known to her fans as a slightly oddball, pop-punk heroine who they could both relate to and look up to.
Well now she is back with record number two, Katla – an album that is finally getting it’s international release after originally being put out in Norway in winter 2010.
The record has only 8 tracks and kicks off with a breezy little folk ditty called ‘Quite Nice People’, which to say is a new direction for Ida would be an understatement.
The track has the kind of cutesy vocal that we’ve not heard from her before and to add to it’s charm there is a lovely moment where the bassist makes a slight error and Ida giggles midway through a line. Most producers would probably have cut this and re-recorded but Butch Walker (Weezer, Katy Perry, Panic! At The Disco) wisely left it in, to wonderful effect.
If you were thinking Ida had made a huge change in style and gone all folky, the next track wastes no time setting you straight. ‘Bad Karma’ – which features on the soundtrack for Scream 4 – is much more along the lines of what we expected from her.
It has a real ’70s glam rock feel to it and the powerful, snarling vocals are back with a vengeance.
Elsewhere, ‘Cherry Red’ is a monster of a pop-rock song which sounds a little like a gutsier Avril Lavigne.
It sees Ida’s mischievous side as she announces ‘I’m gonna be your girl tonight / I’m gonna make you apple pie / I’m gonna wear my cherry red / I’m gonna give you lots of…‘ before leaving the drums to fill in the blanks.
Unfortunately it’s not all as good as this; ‘I Eat Boys Like You For Breakfast’ and ‘10,000 Lovers’ feel really rather light-weight amongst these other tracks. Kind of like Diet Ida Maria, if you will. And just like a diet soft drink, it’s still pretty nice but it just doesn’t taste as good as the original.
The key track here though, the most exciting and promising thing she’s given us to date, is the stunning ‘Devil’.
It is almost 10 minutes of dark, twisted, Led Zeppelin-esque rock which you just didn’t see coming. Everything about this track – from the spiralling guitars to the bellowing vocals – is staggeringly close to perfection.
Katla sounds like someone trying to figure out their next move; to choose a direction; to pick a route.
Ida Maria has given herself a couple of decent options here but I for one, will be hoping she goes the way of the ‘Devil’ for her next LP.