REVIEW: Angel Olsen “Burn Your Fire for No Witness”



4 OUT OF 5 NUTS!

Angel Olsen is a mere 28 years old, but she’s been a mainstay of the folk and indie rock scene for almost a decade now. She’s toured as a backup singer with folk legend Bonnie “Prince” Billy, and worked with LeRoy Bach from Wilco. Now, with her first full-band release (which already warranted a special edition version back in November), Olsen seems poised to break through to the big time. Burn Your Fire for No Witness is a perfect synthesis of rock and folk, never giving over to one side or the other for too long. The opening track, “UnfucktheWorld,” could be a track on Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville, while the haunting, brooding “White Fire” wouldn’t feel out of place on a Leonard Cohen compilation. What unites these seemingly disparate elements is Olsen’s sweet and versatile voice, drifting back and forth between crunchy, clipped distortion on a song like “High & Wild,” and veering back to alt-country Cowboy Junkies territory on a song like “Lights Out.” A hazy dream-like quality pervades the entire record and sonically links even the most different offerings.

Burn Your Fire for No Witness is Olsen’s second LP overall, but could just as easily be her seventh. This is the work of a confident artist who seems hell-bent on showing the world exactly what she can do, packing a relatively short (11 songs) record with a ton of musical ideas. Those who like their folk with a little bit of “oomph,” or their indie rock with a dash of quiet reflection, take note. Angel Olsen is one to watch.

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Angel Olsen “Burn Your Fire for No Witness” Release Date: February 17, 2015.

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