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Wishbone

Oh Land

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Album Review

Upon first listen, Wishbone, the third outing from Danish pop provocateur Nanna Øland Fabricius, better known as Oh Land, sounds like a singer/songwriter trapped inside a fully functioning pinball machine, all whirring, well-oiled gears, flashing bulbs, and carefully timed levers snapping into place, but multiple spins reveal a far more enigmatic voice. Oh Land's schizophrenic blend of girly club beats, icy electro-pop, and wistful balladry falls somewhere between Grimes, Lykke Li, Goldfrapp, and Robyn, and while it doesn't always work, it never stops working hard to get there. Released via Federal Prism, a boutique label run by Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio), Wishbone is at its best when it finds the middle ground between quirky and quixotic, as is the case on the resplendent opener "Bird in an Aeroplane" (and to a lesser extent its churning, less succinct midtempo sibling "Sleepy Town"), the coy, campy, and ultimately infectious single "Renaissance Girls," and the torchy "3 Chances," all of which frame Fabricius' enigmatic lyrics with exotic yet oddly familiar pop architecture in the vein of French/Finnish duo the Dø. For the most part, it's an imperfect yet perfectly acceptable collection of electrified modern pop curios that benefit from their ballet dancer turned green-haired pop princess creator's considerable panache. Less immediate however, is the Santigold-lite, forced dancefloor rave-up "My Boxer" and the wan, Killers-lite, radio-ready "Cherry on Top," though neither song is a deal breaker, especially when they're tempered by better versions of themselves like the Studio 54-kissed "Pyromaniac" and the stark and surprisingly quaint "Love You Better."

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Biography

Formed: 20 November 1985 in Copenhagen, Denmark

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Before an injury put an end to her dancing career, Nanna Øland Fabricius studied with the Royal Swedish Ballet as a teenager. Permanently sidelined by a fractured disk in her spine, she turned her focus to music instead. Fabricius had been raised in the outskirts of Copenhagen, Denmark, by a particularly musical set of parents — her mother sang opera, while her father composed classical music — but she took a different approach to her own songwriting, which drew heavily from dance-pop,...
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Wishbone, Oh Land
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