Music Review: Ida Maria, “Fortress ‘Round My Heart”
What sets Ida Maria Sivertsen and the band that bears her name apart from so many female punk-pop singers is her completely disarming vocal singularity: the Norwegian siren isn’t aping any of her forebears and she’s clearly having a blast on “Fortress ‘Round My Heart.” Witness her goofball, throaty laughter in the verses of “Morning Light” as she experiences a “coyote ugly” moment in bed and cannot wait to get out. And there’s the out-of-breath conversational delivery of the blunt-and-bold single, “I Love You So Much Better When You’re Naked” — Ida Maria’s onto something refreshing and honest with this debut.
Most tracks on “Fortress” are equal parts raw and cooked. The band provides the power and polish on superb dramatic builders such as “Drive Away My Heart” and effervescent rave-ups like “Queen of the World” and “Louie,” but Sivertsen’s vocals sound like great first takes. There’s so little about her voice that sounds studied or worked-over — even the ballad “Keep Me Warm” is sung with brittle, of-the-moment honesty.
Sivertsen closes out “Fortress” with “In the End,” a beautiful acoustic campfire shuffle about the joys of living long and growing old that offers a nice counterpoint to the exposed-nerves caterwauling that precedes it. Here’s hoping that Ida Maria’s career has such longevity.
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