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  • Tiana Speter

ALBUM REVIEW: A Different Kind of Human (Step II) (AURORA)

ALBUM: A Different Kind of Human (Step II) // ARTIST: Aurora


Whimsical Norweigan wonderwoman Aurora cements her otherworldly status with her brand new album 'A Different Kind of Human (Step II)' officially out in the world today.


Long revered for her ethereal brand of synthpop, Norwegian popster Aurora has frequently captivated listeners all over the globe with her ambitious soundscapes, poignant lyrics and resounding vocals over the years. And crafting sonic fairytales comes easily to the Nordic native who grew up learning the piano in secret and harnessing her own personal sensitivity into agile and dynamic songs, with her hotly anticipated third full-length 'A Different Kind of Human (Step II)' delving further into the prismatic musical mind of the one called Aurora Aksnes.

'The River' flows to life first, draping Aurora's airy vocals effortlessly across swelling textures. Cursing with simultaneous energy and simplicity, the opener is devastatingly enchanting as Aurora flits like a sonic fairy, dancing deftly over notes but never lingering so long that she overwhelms the arrangement. One of the lead singles 'Animals' follows next, delivering a hit of Lana Del Rey's vocal moodiness with icy, crushed instrumentation swirling below. Whipping up tribal beats into a stirring whirlwind of textures, this is Aurora at her catchiest, and dishes up a truly festival-ready anthem.


'Dance on the Moon' glides in next with a softer touch of ambience, with haunting pianos and visceral harmonies at times picking you up and suspending you in a breathless starry sky. 'Daydreamer' continues on the softer side of things, with flowing vocals draping across cystalline, cavernous backdrops. Deeper vocal timbres peek through this sturdy number, hinting at Aurora's ever-evolving emotive dexterity. As 'A Different Kind of Human' continues, Aurora's true message strengthens - the destruction of the natural world and the damage done in the pursuit of greed and money, touched ever-so-coquettishly on the tribal groover 'Hunger', and also on the swooning ambience that is 'Souless Creatures'.

Creeping into the second-half of the album, 'In Bottles' offers up pulsing beats and breathy percussion over a bolstered synthy backdrop. 'In Bottles' crunches up the beats while dissonant harmonies coat Aurora's lilting bliss, before title track 'A Different Kind of Human' transports into a whole new stratosphere of simplistic beauty; here, Aurora beckons into a sublime sonic utopia, offering a divine vocal performance while lyrically promising "this world you live in is not a place for someone like you//come on, let us take you home".

The closing moments of 'A Different Kind of Human' is a true cavalcade of every string to Aurora's bow; from the Bjorky 'Apple Tree' to the powerful melancholy unfurling on 'The Seed', the journey eventually culminates in mesmerising textures that transport you into the kaleidoscopic coccoon that is the closing track 'Mothership'.


The emphatic emotion and musicality present on Aurora's third full-length are by no mean any grand surprises for those who are familiar with the eloquent and emotive Nordic sonic goddess. But what is most noticeable and exciting to behold on this divine outing is the increased experimentation mixed with elegant altruism; Aurora is ultimately an artist unafraid to take musical risks, but does so in a way that fuels insightful change and hope, rather than crushing rage and despair. 'A Different Kind of Human (Step II)' is a startlingly beautiful call to arms for a better world from one of the most exciting artists to spiral into our galaxy in a long time.




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