Fortress Round My Heart | Print |

Sweden-based rocker Ida Maria's debut album packs a punch.

With very little frills and some hard-hitting girl balls, Sweden-based rocker Ida Maria has barreled her way into the hearts of U.K. listeners and is working her way west. Her debut album, Fortress Round My Heart, is packed with energetic, catchy rock anthems that have wide-reaching appeal. Following the classic guitar-driven pop-rock formula that’s worked for so many bands, such as Bloc Party and Kings of Leon, the songs are not revolutionary—repetition, cheesy breakdowns, and massive choral buildups abound. Maria’s raw voice, which oozes with passion and cracks at just the right moments, recalls PJ Harvey and Chrissie Hynde. In the climax of standout track 'Oh My God,' Maria lets out a wild, scratchy 'Oh, Mah, Gah-hod!' and it’s somehow pained, triumphant, and infectious all at once—isn’t that the underlying thesis of every great rock song? Proving she has versatility, the album offers a few girly ballads too, like 'Keep Me Warm,' where her vocals become unexpectedly milky and soothing.