From symphonic metal to pristine pop, Sharon den Adel's new solo project, My Indigo, sees her take a leap away from her duties as frontwoman of Dutch noisemakers Within Temptation to deliver a stellar set of songs that tips its hat to influences as diverse as Fleetwood Mac, Florence and the Machine and Lana del Rey, while carving out its own distinctive identity. den Adel has stated that the album came out of a period of personal difficulty, loss and introspection. But the resulting record is an open, inclusive affair that pulls the listener in even as it distances den Adel from the toughness of her band's previous output.
That's not to say that My Indigo's mood is a placid one, though. Rather, the album's ten carefully crafted songs shift rhythm and tempo in compelling ways, bringing a turbulent undertow to catchy pop songcraft, as they mix subtle strings and electronic flourishes. The title track is a case in point, a statement of intent that moves from spare, pensive verses to a big, percussive chorus. There's a gorgeous fluidity to the soundscapes throughout, which switch from intimate to anthemic in a way that keeps the listener intrigued and slightly off balance.
A subtler singer than Florence, den Adel brings an elegant, Sarah MacLachan-esque quality to some of her vocals here, especially on the infectious "Indian Summer" and the sprightly, reggae-lite sway of "Someone Like You." All the songs, from the piano-led ode to liberation "Out of the Darkness" to the hypnotic, epic closer "Where Is My Love," are appealing, but best of all is "Star Crossed Lovers," a euphoric bliss-out that might just end up being the soundtrack to your summer.
My Indigo is released on 20 April. Further information here.