Agnes Obel – Aventine (2014)

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Agnes Obel’s pristine, delicate 2010 debut, Philharmonics, was an unexpected platinum-selling sensation in her home country of Denmark, and a hit throughout Europe. The sudden fame left her reeling, and on Aventine, the classically trained pianist/singer has tried to make sense of things. Accompanied mainly by a single cellist, she has created a quiet, watchful record – a response to having spent 18 months in “a blur” of touring. The lyrics are impressionistic sketches (on Fuel to Fire, she sighs: “Roses on parade, they follow you round”), suggesting she saved the real firepower for the exquisite arrangements: sculpting strings and piano into beautifully melancholy ripples. Like Ane Brun and Seventh Tree-era Alison Goldfrapp, Obel is exceedingly good at conveying weariness and disorientation through sound: Run Cried the Crawling’s pizzicato-plucked cello and otherworldly violin-swoops evoke the desolation of being awake at 3am, as do The Curse’s precise droplets of strings and vocals. A wonderful autumn album. [Source]


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