Earlier this summer, I wrote about the up-and-coming Norwegian/New Zealand-Australian indie electro pop duo Anna of the North, and if you may recall, the duo comprised of Gjøvik, Norway-born and-based singer/songwriter and musician Anna Lotterud and New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based producer Brady Daniell-Smith can trace its unlikely origins back to 2012. As the story goes, Lotterud was working in a shop in her small town, just outside of Oslo, and was settling down with her first love, anticipating a life of routine, normality and banality when a customer came in and changed her life. Polite, well-groomed and worldly, this stranger began making daily visits, browsing the shop’s wares but never buying anything. One afternoon, this customer suddenly approached and implored Lotterud to abandon the traditional life she had planned to set out and expand her her horizons. This woman’s plea jolted something very deep in Lotterud, and in an act of rather uncharacteristic spontaneity she booked a flight to Australia, leaving her life and her partner behind.
The time Lotterud spent in Australia was both personally fulfilling and incredibly turbulent. She fell in love again, only to have her heart broken as suddenly and inexplicably as her decision to leave Norway and relocate to Australia was, but around act time, she met her future producer and collaborator Brady Daniell-Smith. At the time, Smith, who was also struggling with his own complicated relationships was performing as an acoustic singer/songwriter in Melbourne and in a serendipitous moment, Lotterud had managed to catch Smith performing at a local cafe, while she was with a group of friends. Smith and Lotterud quickly became friends — with Smith encouraging his newfound friend and soon-to-be collaborator to find solace from her heartbreak in songwriting with the idea that by making music, they could both exorcise the ghosts of their past love lives. Interestingly enough, the project’s name actually derives itself from an in-joke between the two — Smith would frequently refer to Lotterud as “Anna of the North” and the name stuck.
Three years ago, the release of their debut single “Sway” began an incredible run of attention grabbing, blogosphere buzzing singles that have accumulated more than 60 million streams across all the streaming services, multiple number 1 spots of Hype Machine‘s charts and rotation on BBC Radio 1, Triple J and Beats 1. And that shouldn’t be surprising as the duo manages to pair a brooding, Nordic-influenced, icy minimalism with a bright, buoyant, New Zealand and Southern Hemisphere-inspired synth pop — and they do so while being incredibly dance floor friendly.
Now as you may recall, Lotterud and Smith’s highly-anticipated full-length effort Lovers is slated for release on September 8, 2017 release, and the album reportedly focuses on heartbreak — in particular, the various emotional stages people typically feel after a relationship ends, including turmoil, grief, confusion, and the tentative joy in letting yourself start moving forward. Of course, along with that there’s the recognition that knowing love, including its inevitable heartbreak is necessary and wonderful because it opens up the possibility to know love once more. In fact, album single “Lovers” found the duo pairing a production featuring layers of shimmering synths, buoyant almost rubbery beats and a soaring hook with Lotterud’s tender and aching vocals, expressing a desperate an urgent longing that’s frustrated and can’t be fulfilled.
“Money,” the third and latest single from the duo’s soon-to-be released debut is a breezy, radio friendly pop track featuring shimmering synths and a soaring hook paired with Lotterud singing an impassioned take-down of people who are driven by material goods — and while being among the most decidedly warmest songs they’ve released to date, there’s a subtle, underlying snarl and venom to the song.