Under the guise of Anna Karenina, Swedish musician Anna-Karin Westerlund creates a stirring art-pop world wherein she blends ethereal rhythms and orchestral movements that surround and envelop your senses. There lies a complex theatricality to her compositions and an acute awareness of pop music’s inner workings. Emotion and experience are bound up together until their borders begin to blur and dissolve. Weightless in appearance but possessing a potent gravity in execution, her music seems primed to inhabit and explore every inch of your subconscious.
Her latest EP, “Acting and Reacting,” is due out in the near future and features production work from Ida Lindberg and Willie Alin — Westerlund also shares in that credit as she has been working with them both together and separately to create a diverse identity for the album. Influence from artists like Kate Bush and Tori Amos rests alongside more psychedelic pop inspirations, giving the songs a wild and unpredictable tenor and personality.
On her recent single, “Cat Got Your Tongue,” she blends warbling synths with clacking percussion and a fierce lyrical insight in constructing a sound which is as affecting as it is catchy. The song deals with a bad experience Westerlund had at a previous job where disagreements with her boss led to anxiety over getting fired, and to a lack of support from her coworkers. She speaks to the desire to stand up for your own interests and well-being. The music is compelling and powerful in its message, bypassing bland proselytizing in favor of something more specific and attuned to the current injustices. Vivid and volatile in its melodic motions, the song is a call-to-arms for anyone who has ever been confronted with irrational authority and felt powerless to oppose it.