Sigrid – “Sucker Punch” (Album review): First-round KO

It feels like Sigrid Raabe, known simply as Sigrid, has been around for forever. Her breakthrough EP, “Don’t Kill My Vibe” came out over two years ago, if you can believe it. Having done the media tours – including a stop at Brixton Academy – her long-awaited debut, “Sucker Punch” has finally arrived amidst a sea of anticipation and expectation.

The title track – and opener – deviates from the normal Sigrid synth-pop style through its staccato/RnB stylings. Watch out for the explosive chorus that does what it says onthe tin and hits you “like a sucker punch”, setting up for the rest of the album very nicely indeed.

I love a good string arrangement in pop music so it’s a good thing that “Don’t Feel Like Crying” and “Sight of You” hit all the right notes in that regard. In the former, Sigrid defiantly professes that ‘wallowing in it would be such a waste’, regardless of whatever “it” is, for at least one more night.

On the flip side, the latter explores the power of personal relationships and the importance of a strong inner network – ‘I’m never in doubt when you’ve got my back/When I see you again’. Early highlight “Basic” is another example of Sigrid’s mastery of combining funky, unusual cross-rhythms and clever lyric writing. ‘If you feel it, don’t cage it’ sums up her willingness to draw up and embrace one’s emotions instead of bottling them away for another day.

These songs and such personable lyricism highlights Sigrid’s universal approach of appeal, helped a fair bit by her understated aesthetic centred around primary colours. Many of the tracks are ostensibly love songs at face value but they remain open to interpretation and could easily be about friendships or family relations.

“Sight of You” follows the gentler and more stripped-back “Level Up”, providing a welcome touch of contrast midway through the album and one which signals a more emotional and introspective second half of the album. “In Vain” and the album’s closer “Dynamite” stand out in this latter part of the record which is highlighted by the aforementioned “Don’t Kill My Vibe”.

In the same vein as the ubiquitous hit single “Strangers”, “Don’t Kill My Vibe” is a combination of Sigrid’s greatest strengths as an emerging songstress. Balancing her delicate vocals with instrumentation that both sinks and soars, the song is an explosion of heartfelt defiance that doesn’t so much break barriers as demolish them with a cup of coffee in hand.

Sigrid’s debut album is a case study in how to craft a pop album. While not quite a seminal milestone in music history, “Sucker Punch” is filled with delicious melodies and truly wonderful lyricism, “Sucker Punch” feels like more than the arrival of pop music’s next superstar. Sigrid’s time to shine isn’t around the corner, nor is it fast approaching. Ladies and gents, her time is already here.

Rating: 4.5/5

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