- Thanks to last year’s John Lewis Christmas campaign, Aurora Aksnes finds herself a household name on the strength of her stripped-back rendition of ‘Half The World Away’. If there’s one take-away from this full-length debut, however, it’s that acoustic Oasis covers criminally undersell the singer-songwriter’s talents. All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend feels less like an album, and more of a portal into the 19-year-old’s imagination, vividly conjuring a world where magical realist imagery mingles with the scenery of her native Norway. Aksnes’ tremulous voice remains the main draw, and its folk-y timbre breathes warmth into wintery arrangements, typically characterised by icy synths and the percussive thrust of floor toms. But there’s some truly bullet-proof pop songwriting here too, most notably on ‘Running With The Wolves’ and ‘Conqueror’.
- Alessia Cara first came to prominence in 2015 with her exceptional single ‘Here’. Centred around the same Isaac Hayes hook that Portishead sampled on ‘Glory Box’, the song showcased the Ontario-born singer-songwriter’s supple, soulful vocals, and her sharply observational lyrics. The fact that it remains the strongest thing here is no slight on the 19-year-old’s efforts, because there’s plenty of promise to be found in this first full-length set. Combining tracks from last year’s fantastic Four Pink Walls EP with fresh, R&B-flavoured pop offerings like ‘Overdose’ and ‘Wild Things’, Know-It-All signposts a very bright future for Cara, even if she’s not quite the finished article yet.