Sleek, electronic dance-pop that comments on itself — but not, like, in an annoying way — has been a good lane for Annie. Lovesick thumper "Heartbeats" and snappy bubble-burster "Chewing Gum" established the Norwegian singer as one of the stars of the mp3-blog era with the release of 2004's Anniemal. Her 2009 follow-up Don't Stop had a troubled release history and inexplicably left off the endearingly sassy single "I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me," but the record peaks with the meta-pop pulsator "Songs Remind Me of You."
Annie returns to familiar space with "Back Together," the first track from her upcoming The A&R EP, and fears about diminishing returns instantly vanish: Reunited, and it feels so good. Richard X — who produced "Chewing Gum," "UR Girlfriend," and "Songs Remind Me" — pushes the right buttons again here, for a luminous, streamlined dancefloor vehicle that musically and thematically recalls the U.K. hitmaker's recent excellent work for Saint Etienne. "When we need it most / It will bring us close," Annie coos, between can't-get-you-out-of-my-head oohs that ought to remind you why she was once called the "anti-Kylie" (firmly pro). Little Boots' Victoria Hesketh, who released her own vibrant dance-pop LP Nocturnes earlier this year, wields the sweet-poison songwriting pen on this one.
The A&R EP is due out August 5 on Richard X's Pleasure Masters label, according to PopJustice, which also reported the track list and credits. The presence of a song titled "Ralph Macchio" suggests Annie has been watching Bat for Lashes videos. Not mad.
The A&R EP track list:
1. "Back Together"
2. "Hold On"
3. "Ralph Macchio"
5. "Mixed Emotions"