Thea & The Wild – Strangers and Lovers (Jansen Plateproduksjon)

Pop singles with jangling, retro guitar and catchy choruses

Released Jan 11th, 2015 via Jansenplateproduksjon / By Ian Stanley
Thea & The Wild – Strangers and Lovers (Jansen Plateproduksjon) Thea Glenton Raknes is already a name in Norwegian pop music. Nominated for a Norwegian Grammy Thea & The Wild also received high praise from the Norwegian press for her performances on 2014’s festival circuit. And over this side of the North Sea her song ‘Heartattack’ was named ‘Track of the day’ on Shortlist Magazine. With debut album Strangers and Lovers, Raknes delivers a number of potential polite pop singles with jangling, retro guitar and catchy choruses along the lines of fellow Scandinavian Lykki Li.

Raknes herself says: “The songs I have made for this album is "pop" the way I like it; with clear choruses and lively melodies and rhythms.” The whole album is a pleasant jaunt through Nordic pop that at its highs scuffles through lightly distorted, retro guitars. Stand out tracks ’Heartattack,’’Mourning Song,’ ‘Hots for You’ and, in particular, the control of curious melody in ‘Trains’ prove Raknes’s talent for a good hook on those songs. And the production from her and Kenneth Ishak make this a solid debut. However, at times doesn’t grab you by the balls and scream “remember me!” It’s too kind and polite for that.

Raknes believes, “the lyrics may be a little dark, as I tend to write them from what struggles I have in my head. This is a record you can listen to while you dream of falling in love or reminisce about heartbreak.” The album is perfectly placed as a calming and positive influence in those emotionally manic spaces described. But Thea and The Wid’s darkness is closer to a hazy twilight. Any darkness in Strangers and Lovers is ultimately upbeat. It’s closer to the familiar, comfortable darkness found by Natasha Khan’s Bat for Lashes alter ego when she delights in teenage hoody movies like Donnie Darko.

The successes of Strangers and Lovers is built on catchy choruses. It’s jangly, rolling guitar and lyrics stick closely to the formula that pop music set out for it. Finishing on ‘Take Me To That Dark Place’ lets the album finish using what Thea and The Wild does best – bopping, rolling, retro guitars, bit of beat and a catchy chorus.