Amanda Mair, who at the age of 15 signed to acclaimed and revered Swedish record label Labrador (home of Club 8, Acid House Kings and the Mary Onettes). After being encouraged to record a few covers at the local studio by her mother, studio owner Tom Steffenson – who also happened to be the touring drummer in Club 8 – liked what he heard and alerted bandmate, friend and Labrador boss Johan Angergård to Mair’s precocious talent. With her voice unquestionable, Angergård roped in Mary Onettes leader Philip Ekström to write and produce songs that would best show off Mair’s talents. And as the Labrador site suggests, the sound they ended up with was “a young, Swedish Dusty Springfield produced by Kate Bush”. The end result isn’t really the Swedish version of Dusty in Memphis (Amanda in Stockholm, anyone?) and it’d be silly to compare Amanda Mair to that legend at this stage in her career; in any case her vocals bear more comparison to Kate Bush, an artist Mair admitted she hadn’t heard of (more of which later) when recording debut album Amanda Mair. It’s a pure pop record, bearing all the hallmarks of a Labrador release: pristine production, big hooks, melodies galore and above all, plenty of quality. ‘Said and Done’ opens proceedings with some Eastern strings and develops into a mid-tempo song about having no regrets, with Mair backed by clever percussion and stabs of piano. ‘Doubt’ begins with Spectoresque drums and bright keys, and Mair singing: “I run from the people I love, I will always stay true to my heart”. The track develops into a fizzing ’80s pop song, and a chorus filled with, ahem, doubt: “I wanna become what people become, but I know I’ll stay here/I wanna become what I’ll never become, but I know I’ll stay here/It’s how you’ll be one step ahead of me, I let you be one step ahead of me”. This is the sound of a song written by someone with experience, sung by someone who’s yet to go through all the ups and downs of love but who can translate the song and relate it to her own nascent experiences. To do that takes a talent, and Mair has it: she’s got intuition to go with her great voice. ‘House’ is a moving song about an apartment shared with a former lover that no longer holds its appeal, and it’s here we can hear that Kate Bush voice in all its glory. The backing track is suitably epic and defined, but doesn’t overpower Mair’s voice by layering on the paino-and-strings motif too thickly.