On her fourth album, All Mirrors, Angel Olsen shows us her darkest side. Its introspective nature was an important step for Olsen. Through its brooding tones and lyrics she tells us about learning to trust yourself and move on, find peace in your own company. Valuable lessons, perhaps. On Jagjaguwar.
Limited Vinyl Double LP £21.95 JAG344LP-C1
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Y'know that moment where you're listening to an album that you're unsure about and then something happens that completely redefines it, either for good or bad? Well that happened on the opening track, 'Lark', of Angel Olson's new album 'All Mirrors', where some quiet instrumentation drops away and this huge, magnificent, orchestral Cocteau Twins chorus came swooping in like a bird of prey, all talons and sublime beauty. Olson's voice sounds superb. It rang out huge, controlled, but completely stirring. I love this song.
For an album that's called 'All Mirrors', this is an interestingly direct album. The songs are immediate and catchy. It's everything a pop album should be. There's a seamless marriage between diverse and initially unsuited elements, such as orchestral stabs and synth pads, which is a quality that great albums have. Olson herself is able to jump between styles without it sounding jarring, from the fragile crooner on 'Tonight' to the Herculean might of 'Lark'.
Electronic kick drums thump away throughout this album. The percussion is perfectly placed and arranged, it's sparse but not insubstantial. It allows the instrumentation to support Olson's voice (having never sounded better) perfectly. 'Spring' is like an electro Randy Newman, all seventh chords and languid little vocal cadences. Speaking of chords, one of my favourite elements of this album is the chord progressions. They're wonderfully idiosyncratic but never obtrusive.
Although 'All Mirrors' never quite reaches the heights of 'Lark' (I would have been very surprised if it had), it's still a magically orchestral album 3
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- All Mirrors by Angel Olsen
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