By Ian Bremner
Angel Olsen has been “breaking out” since her 2014 record, Burn Your Fire For No Witness. She’s been described as nearly every term in the indie rock music critic dictionary. From the lo-fi bedroom recordings, to the flushed out rock n roll record of the TRUE “breakout” record of 2016’s MY WOMAN, she is a woman who has toured the earth pouring her soul into her songs. Fellow songwriters look to her as inspiration, and are often compared to her as a result.
It seems Angel Olsen is over all of that. The labels, the promotion, the “image.” She took a big step back after the massive touring cycle for MY WOMAN. After the most success she’d ever experienced, there also turned out to be a dark underbelly to the attention. In 2017, Olsen released Phases, a compilation piece of demos, covers and alternate takes. It was during her solo tour where she had the idea to bring it back to the basics for her next record. The idea was to record two records. One stripped back and solo, the other full band, technicolor versions of the same songs.
Olsen left her post of Asheville, North Carolina for the northern seaport town of Anacourtes, Washington to meet up with producer Michael Harris. It was here in the Northwest where she recorded the solo version of her new record, All Mirrors. With the bones now intact, she then went to produce the larger concept version with John Congleton (Sharon Van Etten’s Remind Me Tomorrow). The rock album turned into a heavy 14-piece orchestra effort led by Ben Babbitt and Jherek Bischoff with intricate string arrangements and pounding synths. This version of All Mirrors is a pulsing, dark pop symphony. Originally planned to be a duel release simultaneously, Olsen quickly realized that this was the version the world needed to hear first.
With the solo version expected to be released sometime in early 2020, All Mirrors as it stands now is a large leap for Olsen, but not necessarily unexpected. She is wildly self-aware and knows exactly what she wants with her artistic output, down to the aesthetic of the record packaging, performances, and visual aids, directing all of the videos herself. It’s clear Angel Olsen is in total control. The detail, depth and beauty of All Mirrors has the potential to launch her into full crossover “breakout” star, but if/when it does, it will be on entirely Olsen’s own terms.
Listen to All Mirrors via spotify
Watch live version of All Mirrors
Watch video for Lark