Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

Album Review by Chris Buckle | 07 Feb 2014
Album title: Burn Your Fire For No Witness
Artist: Angel Olsen
Label: Jagjaguwar
Release date: 17 Feb

Four songs into her exquisite second LP, Angel Olsen’s deeply expressive voice alights upon the album’s title. "If you’ve still got some light in you then go before it’s gone," she whispers over skeletal arpeggios, "and burn your fire for no witness, it’s the only way it’s done." Suddenly, a phrase that in isolation suggested defiance becomes profoundly sad; just one example of Olsen’s acute lyrical gifts.

The song in question (White Fire) is a fragile solo performance, and thus harks back to Olsen’s delicate debut Half Way Home. But elsewhere, Burn Your Fire for No Witness proves a bolder, more assertive expression of the Missouri-born songwriter’s talents, with Forgiven/Forgotten delivering crunchy, Breeders-like guitars and Hi-Five dressing its country crooning in distorting fuzz. Furthermore, upping the volume in this way renders the remaining quiet moments all the more intimate, with Windows a starkly emotional conclusion to an album of true beauty. 

Angel Olsen plays Manchester Soup Kitchen on 23 Mar