Album Review: Mø – No Mythologies To Follow

It’s almost summer 2014, and that means we get to see the indie pop scene evolve once again. Back at the beginning of 2012, Grimes dropped a bomb with Visions that didn’t stop shaking up the synth pop scene for nearly an entire year. The post-modern (or post-Internet, if you prefer) aesthetic and mixture of an uncanny collection of influences made it one of the most lasting pop records in recent history. We saw Ariel Rechtshaid push the sound mixture further with the bouquet of critically adored records he produced last year, including Charli XCX’s True Romance, Sky Ferreira’s My Time, Night Time, HAIM’s Days Are Gone, and Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City. In these, the line between mainstream pop and indie pop continued to thin, with Charli, Ezra Koenig, and the Haim sisters all lending vocals to various EDM tracks at different points in the year. At the same time, we saw bands like CHVRCHES take synth-pop to a place of mainstream acceptance that we’d never seen before. This year, the lines continue to blur with the full-length debut from Danish pop singer Karen Marie ørstead, commonly known as . No Mythologies To Follow collects the singles ørstead has been dropping since late 2012 and gives us a few more to make for a dizzying, masterful pop debut with the help of producer Ronni Vindahl. You can expect to be hearing plenty of Mø in the months to come, so you might as well start listening now.

Tracks on No Mythologies are best digested in layers. Take, for example, “Maiden”, the first track we heard of the bunch. The drum arrangement would work in any other context as a dance-centric hip-hop track, while the piano and vocal on the top could function alone as a lead single from Florence + the Machine. In between, we have a kaleidoscope of synth textures that fill out the bones on the track to make an instantly repeatable pop track. Similar things happen on “Glass” and “Pilgrim”, both singles we heard last year that put massive synth hooks over skittering drum tracks while ørstead belts her heart out in brilliant fashion. Mø wears her heart on her sleeve in the best possible way here, making her tell off to ex-lovers a universally communal experience, as we all sing “Waste of Time” together at full volume.

The newer singles like “XXX 88″ and “Waste of Time” showcase ørstead in a more bass-heavy fashion. The former most likely gains the heavier undercarriage from the additional production help of Diplo, but regardless, Mø pulls no punches throughout this addictive pop wonder. “Waste of Time” is one of the darkest numbers of the record, declaring that an ended relationship was a waste of time and nothing but tears, but even still, you can help but bounce along listening to it. Mø makes breakup after breakup seem like a walk in the park, while whipping your hair back and forth throughout.

While the pop gloss covering No Mythologies may be a bit too shiny for some, Mø’s debut is kept fiercely independent through endless personality. Whether it be the “Ayo!” echoing through the back of “Pilgrim”, or the totally out of nowhere profanity on “Waste of Time”, ørstead is unapologetic in showing off her own quirk. And when all of the dance-floor madness fades away, ørstead can still sing an incredibly beautiful song. “Never Wanna Know” is void of all hip-hop drum tracks and massive horn breaks. Rather, the reserved orch-pop ballad is a painstakingly beautiful breakup tune for those that want nothing to do with the past.

Mø has given us a lot to digest with her debut record. The LP is a relentless smattering of eclectic pop majesty, ranging from somber ballad to brutal dubstep, and there isn’t a single misstep in the mixture. It is exciting to think where ørstead will go from here, given she has set herself up with so many options going forward. But for now, No Mythologies will keep our summer playlists chalk full of Danish pop gold.

No Mythologies To Follow is out this week through RCA. Catch Mø live at the Crocodile on May 30! Tickets are still available here. This will be a party you don’t want to miss.

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