“To write the perfect love song you have to be heartbroken,” said Susan Sundfør in a recent interview with The Guardian. Bittersweet then that in heartache she’s found critical success. Her sixth studio album ‘Ten Love Songs’ has finally gained her recognition outside of Scandinavia where she’s already a megastar. Tonight is the first of four dates in the UK for the Norwegian songstress. SOURCE managed to squeeze through the human bottleneck of The Haunt to catch the support.
Propeller’s new signings Apothek prove to be the perfect start for a headline show promising icy power pop. The band exude similar anaesthetizing chills to those of Beach House’s ‘Depression Cherry’ with tracks twinkling like old clockwork toys. It’s not all soft and beatific though: ‘Invited’ slowly threatens with the moody intensity of Fuck Buttons until its stormy ear-splitting climax.
There’s a mixture of ages present at The Haunt tonight and people are getting restless as the heat rises during a lengthy delay. Finally Sundfør and co arrive on stage to jubilant woops and cheers. Dressed in a collection of white jumpsuits they look ready to launch into hyperspace.
Opener ‘It’s All Gone Tomorrow’ is a twitchy electro orchestral number like Grimes playing a Bond theme. It’s a powerful opening statement but Sundfør remains knelt throughout looking withdrawn.
“Did you ever feel your heart broken?” sings Sundfør forlornly over the twinkling keys of ‘Kamikaze’ before the throbbing synths and strobe lights send the track into intergalactic disco territory. She shrugs off the shy demeanour, commanding a stage that no longer looks big enough for her.
The energy is drained a little with the morose ‘Trust Me’ but is revived with the juddering disco romp of ‘Slowly’. “You own the stars tonight,” sings Sundfør as the synths sail into the cosmos.
‘Accelerate’ is equally as spellbinding with Sundfør’s haunting vocals floating above pulsing keys. It’s the soundtrack for a cruise in the ‘Drive’ car but with a killer from an Argento movie in the back seat.
The industrial drums and techno synths of ‘Insects’ grind like factory gears in time with an erratic light display. The crowd look transfixed and bewildered as the set reaches an experimental peak.
At the height of intensity the drums gradually slow, the synths soften and the track seamlessly transitions into ‘Fade Away’ – her biggest pop statement to date. It’s a masterful switch and causes the biggest reaction of the night with the packed crowd twisting and writhing as one.
“Susanne you’re fucking awesome,” screams an excitable girl from somewhere in the crowd. “Sorry yo,” responds Sundfør shyly.
“We have one more, how convenient,” says Sundfør with a knowing smile as the band re-emerge for the encore. They save the best for last with ‘Delirious’ which brings the show to a dramatic close. Retro John Carpenter synths stab through soaring vocals with ominous effect. “I love the pain, I love the game,” she sings bewitchingly illuminated by blood red lights. The band take a final bow to rapturous applause. There have been moments this evening of pure pop perfection.
“Making a pop song is the hardest bit, it’s like an algorithm,” said Sundfør, describing her songwriting process. It feels like she may have cracked the code tonight.