Something happens to me when I listen to Angel Olsen, something that I can only imagine what must feel like to be neck deep in a pool of awesome loneliness. Olsen’s voice is a lovely heartbroken mess, tinged with killer bluesy folk and fiery red fortitude. How can I feel so perfectly depressed yet wildly exhilarated by it at the same time? Even after multiple listens of Olsen’s new sophomore effort, Burn Your Fire For No Witness, I’m still trying to figure it out.
Olsen simply drips all the right amounts of vulnerability and courage. Her minimal guitar arrangements are the only suitable partner to her painfully sincere vocals. ‘White Fire’ showcases her brilliant vocal range; she sings as if she’s on the other side of your earbuds…just whispering bittersweet nothings into your ear for a straight 7 minutes. Forgiven/Forgotten, HI-FIVE, and High & Wild are extremely upbeat in comparison and involuntary hair whips may or may not commence at this time. Somehow the topic of loneliness doesn’t at all feel strange when it’s frolicking around with wild riffs and rollicking drums. For all I know, Olsen could turn a desolate Tom Hanks into a knee knockin’ Shirley Temple. And when Olsen quietly asks us if we’re lonely too, she then screams, ‘HI-FIVE, SO AM I!’…and right then at that moment I know I’ve found a life partner. Finally, there’s ‘Windows’, the ultimate closer that’s determined to melt your heart with all its wonderfully breathy, angelic falsetto, and damn it just burns so good. Get ready to hit bottom with this album because you’re about to be floored.