'Has the feel of talent being spread too thinly, trying too hard to tick boxes and sounding forced as a result'
Jon Bye

10:08 29th October 2013

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Another month and another new favourite flavour. This time its Ella Maria Lani Yelich- O'Connor's (stage name Lorde) turn to cause the tongues to wag with a blend of dirty house pop music mixed with other ambient elements. Characterised by dirty lo-fi synth tunes set to processed beats and strong bass lines, its ridiculously a la mode.

But in that lies Pure Heroine's weakness. Undoubtedly Yelich-O'Connor is a talented musician, but this is album is an exercise in box ticking and hat-tipping to other artists doing similar things but to greater effect. Its clear where most of the influences are coming from. 'White Teeth Teens' comes straight from The Knife's cutting room floor for its reliance on vocals and simplistic programmed rhythm. 'A World Alone' in turn owes a debt to the witch house scene, particularly the likes of Salem and Zola Jesus in its dark grandeur. 'Buzzcut Season' in turn, for its layers and haunting beat, could have been a number straight out of Florence Welch's secret stockpile.

More often than not though, Lorde's fall back position is to retread the path graced by Lana Del Rey. Sadly Pure Heroine lacks both the depth and production values to carry off that level of dirty pop. Where 'Royals' tries to channel the lyrical attitude of hard living, it comes across as some kind of mild parody. 'Tennis Court' makes a better play of things but still doesn't really carry the depth. But worse is 'Team' which more or less follows the same tune and rhythm of 'Born to Die' to this set of ears, only with half the conviction.

It may sound callous to pull apart this talented young artist based on the passing semblance to other more established artists. But Pure Heroine has the feel of talent being spread too thinly, trying too hard to tick boxes and sounding forced as a result – particularly in terms of the bland lyrics.

Lorde is probably worth more than just being a passing fancy for the music press, but what is mostly on offer here is largely throwaway and background music. It will take better future efforts to prove her music is otherwise.

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