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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