Every year, there's usually a female singer on the indie scene that causes a slightly more pronounced flutter than her contemporaries. She's customarily brandishing a guitar like a cleaver, a voice like a cherub (or a tuneful foghorn, if she's Amy Winehouse), and a collection of songs that are undoubtedly stirring, but often platitudinous.
Not so for this year's sacrificial lamb of-sorts; 22-year-old Swedish songwriter Lykke Li has been causing hearts to flutter manically from Dublin to Denver since the Scandinavian release of debut album Youth Novels primed her for international success earlier this year. And with good reason, too; Lykke Li is not your average ultra-hyped songstress.
For one, she's keen to be perceived as an artist, not necessarily a singer - something that's perceptible across the twelve tracks of Youth Novels. Through a voice that's both girlishly sweet and brazenly detached, she tells tales of complicated love affairs. "I'm too proud for love," she murmurs on the sublime Little Bit, "But with eyes shut, it's you I'm thinking of", while Trumpet in My Head includes the quip: "You say you can't stand me when I'm quiet / So I shot you with my silence."
Possibly the best thing about Youth Novels, however, is its effortless musical diversity. These songs, overseen by Bjorn Yttling (of Peter Bjorn and John) and Lasse Marten (producer of numerous worldwide pop smashes), are indubitably steeped in a pop tradition throughout, but they also benefit from deft, subtle experimentation here and there. Dance Dance Dance's catchy clatter juxtaposes beautifully with Li's warm falsetto, for example; the body-twistingly-danceable I'm Good, I'm Gone's handclap/drumroll is completely affecting, while the catchy, understated glory of Breaking It Up's choral chorus is shudderingly brilliant. Music fans, take note: Lykke Li's world domination starts here.