Nicole Sabouné – Miman (2017)
Earning a record deal following her participation in Sweden’s The Voice in 2012, Nicole Sabouné released her debut album Must Exist in 2014. An incredible album in its own right and released by Roxy Recordings in Sweden; it’s a crime this album hasn’t been heard by a wider audience. Its follow-up, Miman, originally released in Sweden in 2015, has evaded its predecessor’s pitfall, and garnered a worldwide release via acclaimed metal label Century Media Records in 2017. A celebrated underground artist in her native Sweden, Nicole Sabouné’s brand of poppy yet dark post-punk/darkwave is a magical concoction of gifted songcraft and Sabouné’s alluring voice.
Miman, inspired by Harry Martinson’s masterpiece sci-fi novel Aniara, takes its title from a character of the same name – a self-aware machine that collects all the memories of the human race. That this is a concept album of sorts should not divert your ears – NIN’s Year Zero proves that the concept album is not a tragic/dead art form.
Produced by Sabouné herself, Miman offers a slightly alternate angle to her debut’s dark sounds. A little less poppy, certainly darker and more atmospheric – this is the sound of an artist expanding her sound palette and realising her own vision. Part goth, part pop, part darkwave. Definitively breathtaking. Take “Right Track”, with its slow, rhythmic beat backing Sabouné’s exquisitely emotional vocal, before a huge synth sound sends shivers down your spine. Its dark, it hits hard. “Bleeding Faster” is another example of the immense emotional impact conveyed through this album. “Lifetime” too, has a bleak feel to it, accentuated by a disheartening and melancholic chorus. The post-punk guitar licks and piercing synths on “Rip This World” are just savage. So damn good. The seven minute album closer “Withdraw” cements Sabouné’s position as queen of goth. Move aside, Chelsea Wolfe.
While Miman may lack the punchier tracks from her debut such as “Unseen Footage From A Forthcoming Funeral” or “Conquer Or Suffer”, it does hit harder with such emotional depth and power that you can’t help but be moved. This is an absolutely exquisite dark, goth album. Highly recommended.
Available from Century Media Records on CD and Vinyl here.