Lana Del Rey – Honeymoon

Lana Del Rey's second album proper, last year’s Ultraviolence, impressed with live vocal takes recorded with a band led and produced by Dan Auerbach, revealing her to be a truly great singer and obliterating accusations that she’s a limited, heavily-polished talent. She talked up this successor as something “very different” but instead it’s an assured refinement of her style – Julie London fronting an orchestra conducted by Nelson Riddle and performing in the Club Silencio of David Lynch's Mulholland Drive. Strings weep and soar throughout, with the mood remaining affectingly brooding and blue, not least in the slowly unfolding, near-six-minute, likely-doomed romance of the short movie title track. If there’s a danger of self-parody – “Come to California, be a freak like me,” she urges in Freak – Honeymoon is also coolly evocative, as in Art Deco’s depiction of an aloof nightclub queen on the dance floor “shining like gun metal, cold and unsure”. From here, Del Rey will surely be forced to redraw the blueprint, but for now, this is her best yet.