Ida Maria’s debut album Fortress Round My Heart follows reasonably successful singles Stella, Queen Of The World and the oh so irritating, I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked; tracks straddling rock and pop. How does the full-length record fare?
Over the course of half an hour Ida nails her colours to pop, with only occasional nods to angular, guitar-led indie. There may be grimy guitars and a voice so raspy it’s as if she chews on gravel for a hobby, but the overall product is a disappointing listen. The songs are short and punchy, meaning you don’t have to listen to them for long until the next one is served up, but they struggle to rise above boring.
Opener Oh My God is the album’s most interesting moment; it’s no surprise it was chosen as her first single. It ticks all the boxes: loud, fast and consumer friendly.
When Ida’s not shouting in your face, there is a certain tenderness to her which is endearing. One of the stronger tracks on the album is Keep me Warm. It is delicate and raw and you get to hear how great her voice is when you are not distracted by loud guitars and brashness.
It is actually more pleasurable to listen to than her feisty and punchy tracks. It shows her depth and that there is potential for greatness. At times in this track she is reminiscent of Emiliana Torrini .
The same is true for See Me Through. Maybe if she concentrated on doing slower less shouty tracks then this could be a more successful record, but trying to market herself as a punky, in-your-face, artist could be the wrong approach. It is clear that her tender tracks are much better than her singles, it’s just a shame that the public won’t be able to experience this.
A good compromise of showing off her talent and still maintaining her edge is Stella, which has an old Indie feel to it; there’s an essence of Courtney Love bubbling through.
Being only a paltry 35 minutes long, after it has finished you wonder where it went and that somehow you’ve heard all of this before, but better. A good first try for an album, but it’s just not quite there yet. Possibly as she grows as a singer, it may just come together more fluidly and that would be an album worth listening to.