Working with one of the world’s most prominent musicians - Alex Turner - must be something of a poisoned chalice. Alexandra Savior credits the Arctic Monkeys frontman with helping her make her lyrics less personal and more character-based, and he played guitars and bass on ‘Belladonna Of Sadness’, but he’s also become the focus of much of the attention around the record.
What the album makes clear, though, is she’s far from his puppet or mouthpiece - there’s a magic to her voice and presence that feels too natural to be manipulated. She sounds as if she’s from another time - one of dusky Old Hollywood glamour where talk of millennial whoops and auto-tune would have you straitjacketed. Instead, songs like ‘Girlie’ swoon by on aching guitar lines and xylophone dings as the singer rues a character “always looking for a wilder ride” with equal levels of sorrow and disdain.
Dry wit and effortless elegance run throughout, which makes cinematic, poetic wonderment out of eye rolls and humongous sighs. On closer ‘Mystery Girl’ she sounds thoroughly, disgustedly bored - not jealous - as she asks “Is she likely to be there if I were to show up soon?” On the stuttering strut of ‘Bones’, she should sound torn when she sings lines like “I just can’t pretend I’m not in love with you”. Similarly on ‘Audeline’, the album’s only song written almost entirely by Savior, she’s insouciant and coy, only adding to the air of intrigue that makes her - and her alone - so enthralling.