Burn Your Fire For No Witness
Although she’s a contemporary artist, Angel Olsen’s sophomore album reminds me of what I liked best about indie music back in the ’90s: the emotional directness, the lack of glossy production and the sense of humor embedded in the sad-sack moments. On “Hi-Five”, an overdriven guitar backs the Missouri-bred singer as she throws a li’l country twang on lines like “Are you lonely too?/High-five/So am I”. Critics are rightly comparing Olsen’s vocal style to Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star, but I can also hear snippets of Patti Smith and Dee Dee from the Dum Dum Girls in there. As a writer, she’s most effective when the songs are compact, like “Forgiven/Forgotten”, a perfect two-minute blast of sludgy riffing leavened by Olsen’s agile croon winding through it. I lost interest in the longer, meandering moments, but an intriguing record overall.