February 20, 2014
by Jasen Ribadenera
The first track on Angel Olsen’s new record Burn Your Fire For No Witness is called “Unfucktheworld” and I could just stop here and tell you to listen to it right away based purely on that title alone but of course I won’t. I can’t. It’s simple, hesitantly strummed acoustic guitar sits behind Olsen’s wavering vocals and starts off what becomes an amazing collection of songs from St. Louis’ last hope. The next track “Forgiven/Forgotten” changes things up with two distinct dirty electric guitars separated in the left and right channels and bashing drums that drive the song along at a proud 55 mph. It would make Sammy Hagar visibly sag in his Corvette but brings an instant smile to my face, especially when Olsen sings the lines “I’ve wasted my time / making up my mind / I don’t know anything / but I love you.” Yup. Then comes “Hi-Five” and the album is suddenly cemented as a triumph of the will.
I know I talk a lot of shit about some new record that currently has me testifying in public blah, blah, blah but trust me on this one. Burn Your Fire is the truth. It’s like she took the best parts of Cat Power and Mazzy Star, mixed in The Breeders and then added that feeling you get when you leave work on Friday evening. The first true “classic” of 2014. Fun like a Baptist church service (“Stars”) and as sad and honest as early Elliott Smith (“Enemy”), this one runs the goddamn gamut. One listen to the closer “Windows” will move you to such an extent you’ll swear Arcade Fire has just jumped the shark. That voice…
Angel Olsen is getting a lot of attention for this with bloggers across the land crying into their keyboards and she deserves every bit of it. She’s created a stone cold future masterpiece here. Hat’s fucking off.
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