30 Aug 2016

My Woman by Angel Olsen

From The Sampler, 7:30 pm on 30 August 2016
Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen Photo: Supplied

Angel Olsen, who will be touring New Zealand in December, has a smart new album full of indie attitude and classic pop choruses.

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Angel Olsen’s new album My Woman, out on 2 September, is full of the smart writing and indie attitude that has characterised her work from the time of her earliest releases around the start of the decade, which were cassette-only.

It also shows an artist who likes and understands pop; who can craft an addictive hook, and use it for her own ends. In ‘Give It Up’ she reworks a classic Nirvana/Pixies-style chord sequence and makes it fresh, but a lot of these songs might be descendants of something even older. ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’ has a classic rock’n’roll chorus, and behind the garage-punk guitars is a song The Chiffons or The Shirelles could have sung. Elsewhere she touches on synth-pop and piano ballads, yet all are linked by the loose theme that runs through the album. If I had to sum it up, that might be: how to stay a romantic when everything tells you that being a cynic would be a safer bet.

But there is humour as well as heartache in these songs, which becomes more apparent when you see her self-directed videos for ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’ and ‘Intern’.

“I like when things have double-entendres” she says. “I like symbolism. I like it when things have a second layer. And for the first time, I can follow through and show people visually – with my face – ‘okay, you could read this and it might seem sad, but just watch my face and watch me sing it now and I promise I’ll make you laugh.’ That’s my favourite kind of film, my favourite kind of music… when there’s comedy, and genuineness within that comedy.”

Angel Olsen will be playing two NZ shows: Tuesday, December 13, San Fran, Wellington
Wednesday; December 14, Kings Arms Tavern, Auckland.

My Woman is available on Jagjaguwar.