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Nicole Saboune - Miman album review

Sci-fi serenades from Swedish chanteuse

HBO’s brain-scrambling new drama Westworld has reignited existential debates over notions of consciousness, artificial intelligence and man’s innate and likely fatal flaw: greed. It’s hardly new territory; poet Harry Martinson considered these very themes in his 1956 poem, Aniara, and it is inspired by this work that Stockholm’s Nicole Sabouné has written her transfixing sophomore outing, Miman.

Catching the spirit of moody 80s post-punk, Miman’s minimalist arrangements and punchy, bass-driven tempos set an ideal bed for Sabouné’s clear and haunting vocals. Sidestepping the tendency of many occult vocalists to spiral into cartoonishly spooky histrionics, Sabouné instead favours a more soulful tone; think Siouxsie Sioux serenading a futuristic, neon-illuminated cityscape from Tron. Sonically she opens a wide portal into a dreamy dimension of pulsating grooves, haunting echoes and sparkly atmospherics. Rip This World starts with a weird mix of synthy buzzing, ambient tones and the thudding oomph of the kick before exploding into a lustrous flourish of jangly guitars. Lifetime is absurdly compelling in its angular melodies, heavenly chimes and ethereal coda, while Frozen – a Madonna cover, no less – sees Sabouné credibly channel the pop goddess for a smouldering and dramatic finish. Both thematically and compositionally ambitious, Miman is a stunning and wholly immersive experience that surpasses expectations at every turn.