In 2016 we rated Angel Olsen’s last album, My Woman, as our favourite album of the year. To quote part of that review, “we can’t wait to see where Angel Olsen goes next”. We finally got our chance to hear the follow up and like Sharon Van Etten earlier in 2019, Olsen has incorporated more synths and electronics into her work along with a lot of orchestral strings. The six minute “Lark” has a pulsating beat through the verses before the chorus roars and the second verse accuses “the way you scream like something else is the matter”.
“Too Easy” has a dreamy chorus with whispered vocals expressing that “some things happen for a reason; cancel all these plans I’m dreaming”. “Spring” sees Olsen singing about how friends are growing older and priorities are changing to the sound of a broken carousel. First single “All Mirrors” could have been released in the early 80s with its brittle percussion and 80s synths. “New Love Cassette” captures the best of the album’s moments with a minimal beat and synth stabs, Olsen’s voice is haunting and creates a dark/moody atmosphere.
On the flipside, “Impasse” is harsher musically and “Endgame” is a bit slow and sluggish. Better is the acoustic guitar on “Summer” that sounds a bit like First Aid Kit at their best. Olsen has always had a touch of nostalgia in her sound and that shines on tracks like “Tonight” and album closer “Chance” that sounds like a 60s torch song. In the course of expanding her sound, Angel Olsen has released another compelling album that takes several listens to uncover all that she is doing.