On Extreme, Molly Nilsson embraces the power of injecting nostalgic fun into a record that only brushes up against the outre implications of its name. Opening on a galactic level and encountering random planets populated with ’80s- and ’90s-inspired melodies and guitar riffs, the pace of Extreme varies. One track propels you at light speed towards the dancefloor, and the next slowly pulls you into the gravitational force of a hopeful ballad. What’s missing from the Swedish musician’s tenth album is a closeness to Nilsson, an intimacy that can be heard in previous work. As an album that moves away from a “classic” Molly Nilsson sound, the feeling that you’ve known her forever, either as a new listener or a devoted fan, should be front and centre.
An undertone of indie-fied ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’ sound whispers in the background of the opening half of Extreme. Mellow synthwave ‘Kids Today’ could soundtrack Black Mirror’s ‘San Junipero’ sequel. This floating longing feeling is filtered out with the arrival of instrumental interval track ‘Intermezzo’. If taken at face value as a dance record, this could fit right in on an Ibiza classics playlist; here, it acts as the representative of the chilly production on Extreme. Although not flowing cohesively with the rest of the album, it gives us an opportunity to hear another fun side to Nilsson; likewise, the shades of drum and bass on ‘Obnoxiously Talented’ and the tinge of Gorillaz on closer ‘Pompeii’ may not exactly fit with the rest of the record. All that being said, Nilsson has delivered an LP that is generally surprising in its trajectory and blasts off into lively territory.