Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witness
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With Burn Your Fire for No Witness, Angel Olsen expands in all directions, fully reaching the depth of expression hinted at on her last album while still lingering in the restlessness and searching feelings that make all of her work so captivating. Production work from John Congelton adds a different dimension to Olsen's sound, and many of the songs are bolstered with tasteful playing from drummer Josh Jaeger and bassist Stewart Bronaugh, as well as touches of organ, piano, and other various supportive sounds. More than anything, however, the heightened production and instrumentation just help to show how much Olsen's songs have grown and how confident she's become as a performer, even in the space of one album. While still bearing some similarities to Roy Orbison or lesser-known mid-'90s indie singer Edith Frost, Olsen's voice feels more fearlessly her own here, stepping out of the muted shadows to bellow and wail like some wild hybrid of PJ Harvey and Emmylou Harris on a rocking track like "Forgiven/Forgotten" or the more country-seeped "Hi-Five." The heartbreaking seven-minute dirge "White Fire" follows obviously in the footsteps of Leonard Cohen, but manages to succeed in its ambitious tribute, dire and personal rather than simple mimicry.