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Angel Olsen

Burn Your Fire for No Witness (Jagjaguwar)

Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., March 14, 2014

SXSW 2014 Records

Angel Olsen

Burn Your Fire for No Witness (Jagjaguwar)

Drawing upon a finely curated mixture of Middle American postpunk, British folk, and classic country torch-bearing, Angel Olsen's second album puts the Missouri-born singer-songwriter's strengths in the best possible light. Her mastery of emotional vocal nuance brings to mind a hypothetical grandchild of Marianne Faithfull and Roy Orbison in that drama, depth, and delicacy get parsed out in strategic amounts. You can almost smell the booze wafting off of "Hi-Five," yet an air of numb desperation girds the expedient romantic electricity. Meanwhile, the driving pop tones of "Forgiven/Forgotten" cover for the broke-down vacillation in the lyrics. "White Fire," the album's atmospheric centerpiece, mourns for the "tight grip and the warm lick and the calm way of all things summer" over a darkened waltz that becomes more engrossing with each round. Whether she's channeling slow-build immolation on "High & Wild" or pin-drop melancholia on "Dance Slow Decades," Olsen transcends ephemeral charm at every turn. (12mid, Red Eyed Fly)

****

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