By Ryan Saar
Angel Olsen has always been a compelling figure. Watching her progress from humble lo-fi beginnings to this year’s magnificent All Mirrors, her music’s clear consistent value has been its demand for humanity. Olsen seesaws from forlorn ballad to thrilling rock opera, but listeners can always count on
is her commitment to plumbing the common emotional core. What she tends to find at the center isn’t always pretty, but it’s worth turning out to hear her sing about it anyway.
On “All Mirrors,” Olsen’s latest album released on Oct. 4, she pushes her sound to fill
out the enormous rooms she finds herself headlining these days. Backed by a 14-piece orchestra, Olsen’s new record swoons with heavy, icy breath; each song sprawls with the same regality present in the fur coat that adorns the album’s cover. “All Mirrors” is a theatrical work, wrought in royal purple and ivory, which sees Olsen in a new resplendent light. The evolution allows her emotionally rich songwriting to be chewed and savored more than ever before.
As always, Olsen’s voice is the star of the show. Even amongst the broad palette of sounds, it’s her voice alone that rings in listeners’ ears for days after. “All Mirrors” sees Olsen shine and shine again, her voice echoing the drain, pain and earnestness of her lyrics. There may be an orchestra, but the strings are just supporting players bringing a knife-edge anxiety to her clamors and cries.
Onstage, Olsen has never wavered from delivering the spectacle one associates with her records. Whether it’s an intimate solo affair or a full band blowout, there is always a resonance and awe that accompanies her shows. With promises of a “brand new live show,” fans can expect that the new heights of “All Mirrors” are likely to be realized when Angel Olsen takes the stage at The Riviera Theatre on Thursday, Nov. 14.