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So far, Molly Nilsson has walked very much to the beat of her own drum as far as her solo career’s been concerned. She writes, records and produces her albums entirely by herself in her hometown of Berlin. Her eclectic mix of pop influences suggests both an admirable imperviousness to current trends and that she places a desire to follow her own musical nose before any other considerations. Lyrically, she evidently has little issue with wearing her heart firmly on her sleeve, and beyond that, the sheer frequency of her output is in itself an indicator of how out of step she seems to be with a musical climate increasingly obsessed with sharp presentation and strategically-planned releases.

In many ways, ‘Zenith’ is not particularly far removed from the rest of Nilsson’s solo work to date – as well as it adhering to the above criteria, it also aims to toe the line between the personal and universal with a complexity that belies its straightforward pop appeal – but it does feel as if she’s trying to make a little bit of a step forward with this album, in terms of immediacy if nothing else. There’s experimentation and dabbling here, sonically speaking, but not to quite the same extent that we’re used to; Nilsson appears to have reined that side of her approach in a little bit, and the results are mixed in the follow up to her last, faultless EP, ‘Sólo Paraíso – The Summer Songs’.

On the one hand, there’s no question that ‘Zenith’ is a pleasingly cohesive piece of work; the synths are largely chirpy, even if it feels like there’s a touch of foreboding to them here and there – ‘Bus 194 (All There Is)’ is a case in point, whilst the keys match the atmosphere on the introspective ‘H.O.P.E.’. As usual, Nilsson’s detached, almost passive delivery is the record’s one true constant, but the electronic percussion is gentle throughout, too, and there’s a thoughtful, almost brooding mood in evidence from start to finish.

What this also means, though, is that ‘Zenith’ feels a little bit less adventurous than what we’ve grown accustomed to from Nilsson. The calypso-tinged instrumental interlude that pops up around the midpoint, ‘Intermezzo: Palimpsest Galore’, is the only concession to her natural predisposition to stylistic wanderlust, and given that the run of tracks that follows (‘Happyness’, ‘Lovers Are Losers’ and ‘Clearblue’) feel a little too similar for comfort it does have you wondering whether as polished, accomplished and endearingly low-key as ‘Zenith’ is, is Nilsson working with a reduced sonic palette akin to her clipping her own wings.

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