While the album never stumbles wildly or veers off course, there is a bleakness, even in the midst of some of the more hopeful songs, that may keep some listeners at a distance.
What makes Half Way Home magnificent is its openness to what could be, to potential.
Olsen’s white-hot volatility isn’t the main story of Half Way Home, but more the engine that carries her equally remarkable sense for folk- and country-based arrangements into something far less definable; even “anti-folk” is shallow in comparison.
She can put her voice wherever she wants to, and she can land it without warning. It can cut or soothe, scare or comfort, and you’re not quite sure what it’s going to do—and when it’s going to do it.