EERA is the project of the Berlin-based Norwegian singer, songwriter and guitarist Anna Lena Bruland. Many Scandinavian artists seem to have decamped to Berlin; Ghost of Helags and Tuvaband are two which readily spring to mind. It must be one hell of a scene here. Can I tempt any of you to Oldham? No, thought not.
Her second album, ‘Speak‘, will be released on 3rd December 2021, and is the follow up to her 2017 debut ‘Reflection of Youth’ and she describes it as an album of confidence and of contrasts, …”a search for a balance of life, acknowledging myself and being proud of who I am…my debut was a little bit timed, like am I doing this right”?
And this is the lead single from it, ‘Ladder‘, a song about opportunity and about trying to make someone else see that they have a lot to be grateful for, which they may not realise themselves; pushing down the ladder signifying sabotaging oneself. Carpe that Diem!
So, reading between the lines here we have an artist wanting to reinstate her own confidence singing about another person with the same lack-of-self-esteem problem. Quite a conundrum.
According to the PR she’s forsaken influences like P J Harvey (on the previous album) in favour of the likes of My Bloody Valentine on this one. In my view she’s ended up half way between the two. She’s got Polly Jean’s intensity (and doesn’t she look in the video like a young version of PJ?) allied to the sheer volume of MBV (who, I admit, I have never heard live, refusing to go within 25 km of one of their shows for fear of permanent tinnitus).
Yep, this song rocks, with a relentless bass line and drums over cacophonous guitars and synthesisers, but with a taste of tuneful 1980’s female-led alt-rock/new wave band thrown in. I’m struggling for the best example. Perhaps Siouxsie & the Banshees?
The video was directed by Sigurlaug Gisladottir – I’ll bet my mortgage she’s Icelandic – and it follows a well-balanced, self-assured looking Anna Lena through the darkness and various less than salubrious looking parts of what I assume is Berlin.
Sometimes the video makes the song, other times the artist could have spent their money more wisely elsewhere. This one works well. It presents her in a self confident light , the sort of person you’d happily listen to after she’s blazed her trail through dodgy-looking underpasses and parks to get to you.
And she has the fashion style too (as if I’d know anything about it). That black and white outfit under the long slim gold coat wouldn’t look out of place in Berghain. Or for that matter in the trailer for another Scandi Noir TV series as the slightly oddball, sporty car-driving female lead cop. ‘The Bridge’ Prequel, perhaps?
Intriguing fact about Anna Lena. Aged 13, she sang Nirvana’s ‘Rape Me’ at a school event. Nothing timid about that.
‘Ladder’ is out now (in fact it has been since August when Nordic Music Central was but a gleam in my eye).
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