Angel Olsen - All Mirrors
Oct 2, 2019
"In every way — from the making of it, to the words, to how I feel moving forward, this record is about owning up to your darkest side, finding the capacity for new love, and trusting change even when you feel like a stranger."

It's all about the spectacle. Angel has always tackled her past and present life, relationships and musings across her entire catalog, recognizing the bad and good side of the people that influenced her life. On her fourth record, All Mirrors, she is on a deep catharsis, bringing her maximalist art pop/folk rock leanings front-and-center within the span of 11 tracks backed up by 14-piece orchestra, with string co-arrangement from Ben Babbitt and celebrated conductor-arranger Jherek Bischoff, and lastly, the help from Grammy Award-winning producer John Congleton, who also produced 2014's Burn Your Fire for No Witness. Sounding as glorious as ever, Angel has yet created her strongest statement yet, a bold step further to experimentalism and artistic vision, pushed beyond expectation.

Opening track, Lark, opens up the record with a slow burn and explodes into grand orchestral soundscape at the refrain, sounding defiant and pensive as ever, with lines such as, "You say you love every single part/ What about my dreams?/ What about the heart?”, dramatic to no fault, as it moves to the spacious, synth-heavy album title track, also the first single off the album, we hear her weep for the loss of the passage of time, realizing that nothing could be regained: "Standing, facing, all mirrors are erasing/Losing beauty, at least at times it knew me." Third track Too Easy finds her at the throes of moving on over purring synths and driving quarter-time drumbeat while on New Love Cassette, the bass descends in languorous fashion, with intricately woven strings arrangement at the foreground, while Spring is a scintillating mellotron slow-burn track with organic sounding drums alongside electronic flourishes. What It Is channels her rage and romantic toxicity over a confronting line that goes: "You just wanted to forget / That your heart was full of shit," over whooshing strings and drums while Impasse slows down the ongoings with swells of strings and percussion as it crashes and builds up into emotive heights, with her vibrato vocals sounding more restrained and dynamic as ever. As it moves forward to Tonight, a slow romantic slowburn that swells with ache and longing amidst strings and soft percussion, we are distinctly hearing an unmistakeable nostalgia from her past works just like the following track, Summer, with its undeniable country and western influence. Progressing to the final stretch of the record is Endgame, a bare-bones number wrapped in atmosphere and melodrama, while the gentle, gorgeous closer Chance finds her unsure yet full of hope for the future: “I’m not looking for the answer, or anything that lasts", proving the power of her achingly emotive vibrato could conjure so much emotions at 6 minutes, strongly akin to 1955's slow dance-number, Unchained Melody. With this two strong closing numbers at the backend, we reached an almost absolute epilogue to her record, drawing in a lasting impression so strong yet heartfelt.

Densely orchestrated, intuitive and fluid, this is Angel finding herself on the new path set through a big, daring sound, not ever losing the sight of what her strengths is and instead honing it to new heights, constantly reinventing herself at each turn.
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Angel Olsen - All Mirrors
Aug 2, 2019
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