Velkommen til Medina

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Following in the footsteps of Robyn and Annie, Danish-Chilean vocalist Andrea Valbak, aka Medina, is the latest single-monikered electro-pop starlet to make waves across Europe, after scoring hits in Germany and the U.K. with the English-sung alternatives of tracks from her native-tongued sophomore album, Velkommen Til Medina. Produced by Providers (Jay Sean) and MoTrack, the Danish-language original follow-up to 2007's Tæt På is slightly more club-oriented than her Scandinavian counterparts' output, but still manages to retain an ice-cool air and sophistication that's largely absent from the commercial dance scene. The title track is a hypnotic and sensual slice of electro featuring Deadmau5-esque rubbery synths and a brain-lodging chorus which seductively repeats her exotic stage name, "Er Du Med" is a convincing attempt at ethereal trance featuring a melancholic blend of mournful violins and understated piano chords, and lead single, "Kun dor Mig," which topped the charts in her homeland for six weeks, is a sultry fusion of subtle strings, bewitching electro bleeps and breathless vocals. But other than the '90s house throwback "Stikker Du Af" and the robotic techno of "Joanna," the album never really steps into the floor-filling gear it often threatens to, with the eerie sci-fi-esque "Perfektion" and the '80s-tinged synth pop of "Jante" petering out before they reach their anthemic potential. While this understated approach ensures Velkommen Til Medina avoids the trashy Euro-pop tag, it also runs the risk of falling into no man's land, where it never really quite decides whether it wants to provide the soundtrack to the night out or the morning after.

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