If you didn’t already know Vanbot hailed from Sweden, the darkly sleek synthpop of her new album Perfect Storm would give it away. In the tradition of Robyn and the Knife, Ester Ideskog brings an artful touch to state-of-the-art emotional crisis music. On ace singles like “Trooper” and “Seven,” Ideskog’s evocative vocals almost seem to combine with their crystalline surroundings, woman and machine seamlessly merging into something relatable in sentiment but otherworldly in sound. The album conjures a feeling similar to Shura’s intimate, sad-eyed pop jams and blasts it out to M83’s widescreen proportions, and in doing so it accomplishes something special. So much synthpop these days feels like an empty nostalgia exercise or a tardy arrival to a played-out trend; Vanbot and producer Johannes Berglund (The Knife, I Break Horses) have instead crafted a vital collection of music that reminds me why music like this captivated so many imaginations in the first place. Let Perfect Storm engulf you below.
Perfect Storm is out 5/15 via Lisch Recordings. Pre-order it here.