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Annie calls it “pop with strange edges”; those sounds both immediately listenable and utterly beguiling, mainstream and underground all at once. On her second album this ‘pop with strange edges’ is also pop with twists and eccentricities so surprising that the tunes persistently demand a double take. Sometimes expressive, sometimes funny but always totally fresh and utterly human, Annie’s new album ‘Don’t Stop’ puts on something of a show.

Recorded over the last two years, ‘Don’t Stop’ will pull off the tricky task of pleasing Annie’s existing fans while, just maybe, making her a bit of a household name. Think of that first album, which sold more than 100,000 copies and established Annie’s name as one to watch throughout Europe, America and the Far East, as the blueprint, or as a speculative ‘Property Of Annie’ stamp on pop’s plump rump; now think of ‘Don’t Stop’ as a faithful amplification of ‘Anniemal’’s winning charms. The result? A sound you’ll find everywhere from Hoxton houseparties to the distant, absent-minded whistle of a Burgess Hill binman.

Complementing Anne Lilia Berge Strand’s pick ‘n’ mix, Pitchfork-to-Popjustice, genrehopping pincer movement are an array of handpicked associates: ‘Don’t Stop’ reunites Annie with Timo Kaukolampi and Richard X – collaborators from the first album – and introduces a new friends such as Xenomania, Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand and Paul Epworth. It’s an eleven-course feast for the modern musical connoisseur but while it’s so fond of ticking boxes that you wouldn’t be surprised to find it outside Boots with a clipboard asking for five minutes of your time, it’s also an effortless and organic blend with Annie centre stage.

Annie’s journey this far has been a long one. It started when she was a teenager living in Norway’s tune capital, Bergen, long before she founded the legendary clubnight Pop Til You Drop or her debut single ‘The Greatest Hit’ sent the planet’s online community into a frenzy. Before all that, during dark days fronting a terrible Norwegian indie troupe called Suitcase, Annie would send her band’s demos to Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley. “Fortunately he doesn’t remember them at all because they really were very bad,” Annie laughs now, “but by the time ‘Anniemal’ came around Saint Etienne asked me to tour with them.” Annie’s friendship with the band continued as ‘Anniemal’ and its lead single ‘Chewing Gum’ put Annie on the brink of global stardom in 2005. Annie toured America, Japan and Australia, then got down to writing for the second album. By that point there was only one problem: no record label. Annie’s appealingly diverse qualities – a pop singer with credibility, an indie artist with one eye on the dancefloor – were proving difficult for some people to get their heads around. “It was confusing for me,” Annie remembers, “because nobody had said what I’d been doing was crap. If I’d had everyone going ‘look, you’re not really very good at this, have you thought about working in a shop’ it would have been one thing, but… Well, it was a strange situation.”

Annie kept writing and touring, and one day Bob Stanley mentioned the producer Brian Higgins, who he’d known for a long time and who was a fan of Annie’s breakthrough US hit ‘Heartbeat’. Annie got in touch, and was summoned to Brian’s Xenomania studios in the Kent countryside. She turned up with a stinking hangover after three hours’ sleep. “Brian’s very direct and that’s great because I’m clear about what I like and don’t like, too,” Annie explains.

Flashforward to 2009 and ‘Don’t Stop’ is a schizophrenic but undeniably solid proposition. ‘My Love Is Better’ comes with its deliciously angular guitar hook thrown into a melting pot of blazing pop beats, singalong choruses and hilariously competitive couplets (“underneath your smile you don’t want to lose / Babe I’ve got the style, you’ve just got the shoes”). Where ‘Better’ fizzes with Xenomania’s trademarked everything-and-the-kitchen-sink sonic style, one of the production team’s other surprises on this album is an object lesson in well-judged sparseness – a reminder that sometimes knob-twiddling genius comes from knowing what to leave out, not just what to throw in. “I always wanted to sing a power ballad,” Annie says of understated, gut-wrenchingly powerful masterpiece ‘When The Night’. “And now I have!”

Annie also teamed up with producer de jour Paul Epworth (Bloc Party, Friendly Fires) to work on three tracks including hypnotic album opener ‘Hey Annie’, the pulsating title track ‘Don’t Stop’ and ‘I Don’t Like Your Band’, a slice of sublime stuttering electro-pop complete with hilarious throw-down lyrics, ‘You’re out of tape and out of time. Don’t get me wrong – I like you, I don’t like your band, It’s not you, It’s your tunes’. Ouch.

Continuing one of Annie’s recurring lyrics themes (“that love and horrible things don’t always come together,” she laughs, “but they seem to for me”) is ‘Heaven & Hell’, which is the sort of song Annie hears playing as credits roll in an imaginary romcom. It’s a breezy number which reflects Annie’s developing passion for the best bits of French pop – Brigitte, Serge and co – and is complemented on the album by ‘Marie Cherie’. That song was recorded with Timo in the same studio as much of ‘Anniemal’, and tells the doom-laden tale of a girl who commits suicide because she’s been abused by her father, and whose disappearance is noticed by nobody. ‘Bad Times’, with its haunting observation that “the loneliness reminds you that everything fades”, is one of Annie’s autobiographical moments and another of the album’s ‘love and horrible things’ songs, evoking the glacial, hypnotic power of ‘Heartbeat’. ‘Don’t Stop’ also boasts Annie’s first true four-to-the-floor anthem, the Richard X-produced club banger ‘Songs Reminds Me Of You’ – a song whose strobe-friendly breakdown and overall sense of dancefloor abandon is so intense that they’ll be picking up the whiff of amyl all the way back in Bergen.

Life-on-autopilot is reflected, ominously, in the atmospheric ‘Take You Home’, with its grim chant of “I cannot lie, my fear of you is strong, I don’t love you, I want to take you home”. “The album works against itself,” Annie says. “I like there to be two things happening at once; pop and cool, happy and sad.”

‘Don’t Stop’ cements Annie’s position as the postergirl for 2009’s brilliantly varied musical landscape. It’s an album to be hungrily devoured by everyone and Annie loves its stylistic contradictions. Like few other albums of the last ten years ‘Don’t Stop’ makes perfect sense of pop’s brilliant extremes; this is, after all, the work of a woman whose cat Joey was named after her favourite Ramone and her favourite New Kid On The Block

So this is Annie: a singer songwriter without an acoustic guitar, a chart-friendly singer with her own finger on pop’s throbbing pulse, so comfortable in her independence that she’ll assemble her own rolecall of collaborators and partners in crime. With a splendid sense of logic quite common in musicians she’s recently bought a place in Berlin, just as she’s launching in the UK – a great encapsulation of Annie’s can’t-won’t-don’t stop attitude. One of the brilliant things about being neither one thing or the other is that, if you want, you can be everything. Just don’t stop, no matter what. “I’ll never give up,” she hoots. “I’m like a virus!”