Ace Swedish pop-star Robyn played the second of two up-close-and-personal London gigs at Puregroove at the Hoxton Bar & Kitchen on Friday . Her name might sound familiar because Robyn is best known in the UK for her late-90s pop hit Show Me Love, a Britney/Christina-in-pop-mode song co-produced by Swedish pop-supremo Max Martin. After its release, Robyn returned to Sweden where fame continued with two further albums.
Then Robyn established her own Konichiwa Records with the sole purpose of releasing her own material. Her subsequent eponymous album was one of the best Swedish albums of 2005 combining both acoustic guitars and electro, hip-hop beats with cute, cool vocals and lyrics. Having won a clutch of Swedish Grammis awards, worked with uber-cool electro-siblings The Knife and gained considerable critical acclaim, Robyn has now set her sights back on the UK. She released The Rakamonie EP, on November 20th and followed it with promotional gigs last week.
Opening her set with the 'I-know-I'm-better-than-you' sentiment of Handle Me, it was clear that Robyn was here on a mission. Backed by just one guitarist / drummer, the music was pared back and minimal. Robyn's cool, emotional vocal style was to the fore. And what a style – ranging from confident and taunting, all the way to fragile, sentimental and bittersweet. A cover of Prince's Jack U Off and her own hip-hop styled playground boast Konichiwa Bitches and rap-ish Cobrastyle were strong, uptempo songs with Robyn controlling and sparring with the audience.
Onstage, Robyn was arresting - both loveable and confronting. She raised her fists, clenched her eyes and snarled her lips, but all in a loveable way. Raw and emotional, she appeared frantically breathless at times. Ending the set with the bittersweet Be Mine, the audience joined in, convinced and won over by a very impressive pop star.