Vanbot must surely be one of the most underrated (or at least underappreciated) pop artists. If this is your first encounter with Esther Ideskog; she’s Swedish, which in itself should be an assurance that we’re dealing with some melodious quality synth-pop. Vanbot first started to appear about the same time as another Swedish artist, Robyn, was making headlines and features on loads of year-end lists. So, naturally Ideskog, because of her background, sound, hair-color, voice was immediately compared to her fellow country-woman on pretty much every article or blog post written about her. While Robyn has a lot of attitude and edgy persona complementing her music, Vanbot has stayed quite anonymous and let the music speak for itself. Unfortunately in the world of commercial pop music, anonymity is not always a good thing, so I suspect that the comparison with Robyn probably hurt more than helped to launch her career. If she was from a different country and her hair was dyed black, she would probably be left to stand on her own. Sound- and melody-wise Vanbot is undoubtedly closer to Crystal Castles or Purity Ring. Just listen to “Got To Get Out” – in my view, one of last year’s most outstanding electro-pop cuts and was consequently featured on IFM’s Best Of 2012 list – and compare it to Crystal Castle’s “Sad Eyes” (important to point out that “Sad Eyes” was released later then “Got To Get Out”).
My first encounter with Vanbot was 2011’s “Los without You” – one of those pop songs that have all the elements of commercial accessibly, yet with a undoubted resilience to last past that initial fling. Her self-titled debut album, released the same year, was perhaps a somewhat uneven affair but showed a sensibility to write exquisitely produced synth-heavy pop songs.
It’s been pretty quiet for a while now, not sure if we would ever see the light of a second album. So it’s reassuring to hear a new single from her titled “Hold This Moment”, featuring a strong melody and tuned-up synthesizers. All the comparison with other artist should stop from now on.