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Aurora - What Happened To The Heart? (Album Review)

Tuesday, 11 June 2024 Written by Will Marshall

Aurora has long been happy operating on the fringes of modern pop, creating emotionally rich worlds that defy easy categorisation. Her fifth album ‘What Happened to the Heart?’ is no different, with the Norwegian songwriter offering up another slate of intense musical arrangements, theatrical vocals and radio-ready hits with her own unique twist.

Opener Echo of My Shadow is led at first by subdued vocals and gentle strings. Singing in a high, almost wailing, register Aurora’s voice is counterpointed by quiet orchestration only for the script to suddenly be flipped by To Be Alright and Your Blood. 

The former has pulsing synths and a retro feel to it, shapeshifting to a slower mood before heading back to dancier pastures, while the latter has a real earworm hook that's accentuated by plucked strings. 

Aurora excels on these powerful songs, twisting more conservative beats into new forms by embracing atypical song structures — the syncopation of Your Blood’s backing instruments, in particular, elevate the song. 

But as strong a start as this is, Aurora’s tendency to overwrite does crop up as it has on past LPs, and it's a particular issue given the sheer length of ‘What Happened to the Heart?’. At 16 songs and an hour, it’s packed full of sonic shifts and that means some nuances can be lost, particularly in its slower, folkier songs. Fortunately, there’s always another hit around the corner, like Earthly Delights, with its lo-fi, pulsing beat, or the frosty stomp of When the Dark Presses Lightly. 

Echoing a trait seen across her developing discography, here Aurora refuses to be bound by her previous work and constantly explores her voice by crafting expansive songs that reward and challenge in equal measure.

Aurora Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue June 11 2024 - KINGSTON UPON THAMES Pryzm
Wed June 26 2024 - DUBLIN National Stadium
Wed October 02 2024 - LONDON Royal Albert Hall
Fri October 04 2024 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Sat October 05 2024 - EDINBURGH Usher Hall
Sat May 03 2025 - LONDON OVO Arena Wembley 

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