Monday, July 03, 2017

'Sister' act

Back home on Friday after a week's holiday, I finally cracked and, at the risk of making myself more depressed at having missed out, started dipping into BBC iPlayer's treasure trove of Glastonbury highlights.

The first set I chose to watch - Angel Olsen's - was part of a superb line-up on the Park Stage on the Friday night, which also included Sleaford Mods, Mark Lanegan and headliners The Flaming Lips. My choice of her set as a starting point was inspired by listening to the interview with her for Loud & Quiet's Midnight Chats - a podcast series long championed by my fellow Sounding Bored founder Rob.

Over the course of an hour, she played just eight songs, interspersed with goofy interaction with the crowd and (before the final track) a pre-prepared speech about togetherness. The set was structured in roughly the same way as last year's stupendously good My Woman, with the louder, shorter material in the first half and the more weighty, languid slow-burners in the second. Six of the eight tracks were drawn from that LP, with 'Sister', 'Those Were The Days' and 'Woman' played in an incredible sequence as on the album.

That meant that opener 'High & Wild' was the sole representative from My Woman's predecessor, 2014's equally brilliant Burn Your Fire For No Witness. If the absence of that record's singles 'Hi-Five' and 'Forgiven/Forgotten' was initially a disappointment, 'Shut Up Kiss Me' - her best single to date - at least supplied the upbeat poppiness.

Personally speaking, though, the real revelation was 'Acrobat', which was more than enough to convince me that her folky 2012 full-length debut Halfway Home should be investigated pronto.

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