We at Listen Before You Buy quite enjoyed Rhye. Really quite a lot. We thought that their track “Open” was maybe one of the sexiest ever. Given that, it probably shouldn’t come as any sort of a surprise to discover that we also quite enjoyed MØ. Why? Well, Ronni Vindahl and Robin Hannibal, mainly, who are the gurus behind the production in both cases. There’s also the Scandinavian thing – an incredibly reliable correlate with music I like (The Knife, say, or Lykke Li, or previously-Intro‘d Sansa).
I’m getting ahead of myself, here. MØ is the solo project of Karen Marie Ørsted, who at just 23 and with a whopping total of two tracks, released only over the Internet, to her name is already catching attention from journos and labels alike. A quick listen to either of the tracks, “Maiden” and “Pilgrim”, should clarify that state of affairs. What really jumped out at me was the juxtaposition between her saccharine vocals and the, uh, less saccharine lyrics (she just wants to “fuck it up…”). As for how MØ is pronounced, your guess is as good as mine, I’m afraid. Moe? Moo? Muuh? Who, other than everyone who speaks a Nordic language can tell? It means “virgin”, though. Draw your own conclusions.
Comparisons with Grimes are already being slung around, although if I’m honest, other than the lady-singer-with-synths thing, I don’t think there’s a particularly strong similarity. Where Ms Boucher likes to get a little bit out there with her sound design, and appears to deliver her vocals through a semi-permanent hash haze, MØ sticks to what the Scandinavians do best: thoughtful pop. The lyrics are sung rather than mumbled, and there’s a discernable song structure under the blips and bloops. There aren’t even that many blips and bloops to begin with.
Rhye seem like a much better comparison, beyond just the production connection. There’s that same deceptive appearance of meekness, covering up a considerably sassier attitude and approach to song-writing. I can’t help but think of AlunaGeorge as well, although the similarity is much more apparent on “Maiden” than “Pilgrim”. Either way, both tracks sound great. The distillation of influences from hip-hop to indie pop still sounds fresh here, and I look forward immensely to track number three (and four, and five, and so on). The really good news is that she’s in the studio with Mr Vindahl as we speak, so the wait shouldn’t be too long…