When: Tue., May 22, 8 p.m. 2012
On her terrific new album, It All Starts With One (PIAS), Sweden-based, Norway-bred singer Ane Brun uses ambiguity to change her songs' complexion and leave you guessing. The opener "These Days" might be about accepting a lover's dimming passion, or about breaking free from addiction while still keeping a wary eye on it: "These days I let you stay / A little further away." Inspired by the Arab Spring, "One" references a grassroots movement in nearly every verse, but it could be describing personal determination as easily as a populist revolution. Brun is just as effective when her purpose is plain, especially when she's singing about dying love. She brings soulful anger to the album's highlight, "Do You Remember"—where her voice and the ghostly hectoring of Swedish duo First Aid Kit ride on the propulsive tribal beats of drummer Per Eklund—and on "The Light From One" she sings delicately about gathering strength to move forward alone. In comparison to the wispy folk sound of her earlier work, It All Starts With One has fuller production and greater orchestral depth—the songs are lean (with the exception of the timpani-loaded closer, "Undertow") but layered with harmonies. —Peter Margasak Gemma Ray opens.