Ane Brun - Songs 2003-2013
Wow, that’s quite a statement of intent and confidence. Releasing a compilation album of your first decade in music with a whopping 32 songs across two discs isn’t the usual way of doing things, especially when it’s not even the requisite special edition version. But three number one albums in her native Norway, most of which were never officially released in the UK, have given Ane Brun a level of confidence that there’s a wider audience for Songs 2003-2013. Released on her own label, Balloon Ranger, this collection mixes tracks from her studio and live albums and includes updated versions of her own songs and covers, all drawn from her surprisingly large back catalogue. Hidden away at the end of disc two, dramatic lead single ‘This Voice (2013)’ is a good indication of Brun’s style, both vocally and musically. With an almost operatic, showtune kind of feel, Brun’s writing is epitomised by ‘My Lover Will Go’ and ‘Temporary Drive’. Her greatest strength is highlighted on the first live track ‘The Dancer’, a powerful demonstration of the tone and clarity of her amazing voice. These live tracks are a welcome inclusion somehow sounding live and studio recorded. Her cover versions are pretty perfunctory (‘True Colours’, ‘Feeling Good’), although Brun’s contribution to Peter Gabriel’s reinterpretation of ‘Don’t Give Up’ helps lift it higher than you’d expect. Live song ‘The Fall’ is the Bond theme that never was. With some light pruning this collection could have been essential but, nevertheless, Ane Brun’s career retrospective is just the thing to open British ears to this little known, in the UK at least, Norwegian treasure.