Initially, it’s somewhat difficult to believe that All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend is someone’s debut album. 19 year old Norwegian singer Aurora Aksnes—also known as AURORA—had only started releasing singles sporadically in 2013, but has now sold out headline shows in London, received widespread radio attention and even been included on soundtracks. Oddly enough, only now is she finally getting around to releasing a debut album, but with years of songwriting experience and a charmingly distinctive voice, there’s already a lot to love about her.
When it comes to setting expectations for the album, the pre-release singles do a perfect job of creating interest. Runaway sets the tone of the album, opening on and largely revolving around harmonious humming and a simple beat, showcasing Aksnes’ solid vocals before moving into a bright yet sombre chorus filled with sparkling synths, making for a strikingly simple track with the right level of hook to draw you in. Conqueror takes the more upbeat route, with a catchy percussive beat and a buzzing, battle-ready chorus fitting to the song’s title and lyrics—I’ve been looking for the Conqueror / But you don’t seem to come my way—presented in a more radio ready way that still keeps Aksnes’ sound at its core.
The new tracks, however, truly show off the synth driven folk sound of the album. I Went Too Far opens with nothing but piano and vocals, but slowly builds into a synth-supported pop ballad across its choruses, making for a sparkling yet heart-wrenching track full of top notch lyricism that truly tells a story—I’m left behind with an empty home / And everything I am is gone / I tried to reach for another soul / So I can feel whole. Another of the album’s most notable moments comes with the world-building of Black Water Lilies, which uses extended notes, reverberating piano and simple beats to bring the aquatic theme of the song to life in a way that truly brings the album to a stunning close. The album’s style manifests itself in a variety of different ways, each of which is as convincing and powerful as the one that came before.
All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend is nothing short of amazing. Aksnes’ vocals and style are perfect for the tone of the music, and each song is written and produced to perfection, easily getting the message across and sticking with you in a meaningful way. Not a single moment falls short across its twelve tracks, none of which wear thin after repeated listening. All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend definitely doesn’t feel like a debut album; it’s one far ahead of its artist’s years in scope, and one that’s sure to lead to great things for AURORA.