iamamiwhoami – Kin

A brilliantly slick debut of dance and electro-pop.

Label: To Whom I May

Rating: 8

Is it Bjork? Gaga? Or perhaps it’s Aguilera? The internet asked these questions in 2009 as bloggers received a series of short videos featuring an enigmatic blonde woman.

Soon her identity was revealed as Swede Jonna Lee (aka iamamiwhoami) who released a further seven videos under her ‘Bounty’ project, all accompanied by her own full-length songs clearly influenced by the Knife, Bjork and Portishead. Don’t mistake this mysterious marketing as the weak façade Wu Lyf used though as she eventually bagged a Swedish Grammy for Innovator Of The Year.

Enter February 2012 when a new set of similarly mysterious music videos circulated around. These were just as vibrant as the ‘Bounty’ videos: released in fortnightly chunks, each video had Lee dancing around in huge landscapes whilst furry giants surrounded her. Now the whole set is complete and each of the video’s tracks form Lee’s first proper debut ‘Kin’.

Unsurprisingly, ‘Kin’ carries the same air of mystery as Lee’s video campaigns, albeit rather distracting at times: her voice is lathered with so much reverb, it crackles inaudibly for the majority.

Not like that matters though when the songwriting is as excellent as it is. From ‘Sever’, which creeps with Portishead’s trademark gloom, to the Kraftwerk come Austra club beats of ‘Good Worker’, Lee is able to flit between moods with as much sleekness and ease as the record’s glacial production. ‘Play’’s slippery synth borrows from SBTRKT’S highly-sheened R&B, ‘Idle Talk’ is a soaring anthem taken from M83’s song book and the menacing ‘In Due Order’, is so head-noddingly industrial, you’ll be reaching for the Nurofen by its second verse.

By the time the glistening Knife-ish beats of closing track ‘Goods’ thump away, there’s no questioning who the talent behind ‘Kin’ is. Having created a brilliantly slick debut of dance and electro-pop, Jonna Lee has thrust herself out of the shadows and directly into the limelight. ‘Kin’ is a hypnotic album on its own merit and needs no elaborate campaign to stand out.