March 2014 National Music Reviews

Review: Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witnesses

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Angel Olsen
Burn Your Fire For No
Witnesses
Jagjaguwar
Street: 02.18
Angel Olsen = You Are Free–era Cat Power + Joan Baez
If Angel Olsen sounds familiar on the 11 songs on Burn Your Fire, it might be because of the marvelous nostalgia of a bygone era that her voice evokes. Or perhaps the familiarity—no, the power—of these songs comes from the ease with which Olsen convinces us that the most healing remedy for loneliness is music itself. Universals aside, this is Olsen’s catharsis: beginning with the depressed but self-confident uncertainty of opener “Unfucktheworld” and the blazing “Forgiven/forgotten”—it’s a defiant, personal record. She’s still hanging her voice on vintage Americana hooks—“I feel so lonesome I could cry,” she sings on “Hi-five”—though this is her first release with a backing band, which envelops her fiery warble in warm, complementary tunes. Olsen is a mighty force for the power of great songwriting; “I wish I had the voice of everything,” she sings on “Stars”—and so do we. –Christian Schultz
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