Friday, 4 October 2013

Agnes Obel - Aventine

Album review by

I first discovered Danish singer-songwriter Agnes Obel back in 2011, when I heard her single 'Riverside' taken from her critically acclaimed debut album 'Philharmonics' featured on an episode of 'Grey's Anatomy'. You know those moments in TV dramas when someone is getting a bit of bad news or it's all a bit suspensey then they whack on a really beautiful, emotive song just to mess you up a little bit more and see if it pushes you to the brink of tears... Yeah, that was my overwhelming introduction to Agnes Obel! It's been three years since the release of 'Philharmonics' which sold 450,000 copies across Europe, reached platinum status in France and Belgium, gold in the Netherlands, and achieved five times platinum in her home country Denmark, where she also picked up five Danish Music Awards (Denmark's equivalent of the Brits in the UK), which meant that Agnes Obel had to pull out all stops to maintain or surpass that quality of music in regards to a follow up album.

Queue 'Aventine', her latest 11-track offering which is just as extraordinary as we could have hoped it to be. 'Chords Left' opens the album with the first of three wondrous piano solos spread evenly throughout the album. 'Tokka' falls mid-album which sees Obel's fingers gently fluttering over piano melodies to a delightful outcome. 'Fivefold' is a darker, sharper, exciting instrumental that sees the power of keys expertly in conversation with a wonderful string arrangement. Then there are tracks like the the first single taken from the album; 'The Curse', or 'Fuel to Fire' which has a haunting quality about it, largely down to Obel's breathtaking vocals. The title track ('Aventine') has a very floaty, new-age, Yanni quality about its instrumentation which can also be heard in 'Run Cried The Crawling'.

Then there are my top two favourites: 'Dorian' - an incredibly powerful, emotive track that comes at you like a sigh from a lost lover, and 'Pass Them By' which has a very natural, earthly quality about its lyricism and its well-polished arrangements. 'Words Are Dead' is a sad song that whispers resignation and the album wraps up, echoing out with 'Smoke & Mirrors'. 'Aventine' is one of those enchanting records that quite simply, leaves you speechless. If there is one album you must add to your CD collection this year, this is it.

Agnes Obel's website

Buy the album

Catch her live:

Oct 18 Kulturetage, Oldenburg, Germany
Oct 19 Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Oct 21 Union Chapel, London, United Kingdom
Oct 22 Colston Hall 2, Bristol, United Kingdom
Oct 23 Vicar Street, Dublin, Ireland
Oct 24 CCA, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Oct 28 Det Kongelige Teater, Copenhagen, Denmark
Oct 31 Heilig Geist Kirche, Frankfurt Am Main, Germany
Nov 01 Cirque Royal, Brussels, Belgium
Nov 02 ROCKHAL, Esch Sur Alzette, Luxembourg
Nov 04 Jazzhaus, Freiburg, Germany
Nov 05 Teatro Martinitt, Milan, Italy
Nov 07 Theaterhaus, Stuttgart, Germany
Nov 08 Heiliggeistkirche, Heidelberg, Germany
Nov 09 Kaufleuten, Zurich, Switzerland
Nov 10 Kaufleuten, Zurich, Switzerland
Nov 12 E-Werk, Erlangen, Germany
Nov 13 Kulturkirche, Cologne, Germany
Nov 21 Femina , Bordeaux, France
Nov 22 OPERA, Rennes, France
Nov 23 Le 106 , Rouen, France
Nov 24 Auditorium Lumière, Lyon, France
Nov 30 La Piscine, Roubaix, France
Dec 01 THEATRE D'HEROUVILLE, Hérouville Saint Clair, France
Dec 02 Trianon, Paris, France
Dec 04 Trianon, Paris, France
Dec 05 Salon Iksv, Istanbul, Turkey
Dec 06 Salon Iksv, Istanbul, Turkey
Dec 12 Kampnagel, Hamburg, Germany
Jan 03 Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany
Apr 09 THEATRE SEBASTOPOL, Lille, France
Apr 12 GRAND THEATRE, Dijon, France
Apr 14 GRAND REX, Paris, France
Apr 22 Operaen, Holmen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Apr 23 Operaen, Holmen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Apr 25 Vaerket, Randers, Denmark
Apr 26 Tivoli Friheden, Århus C, Denmark
Apr 30  Musikhuset Esbjerg, Esbjerg, Denmark
May 02 Aalborg Kongres og Kultur Center, Aalborg, Denmark
May 03 Odense Koncerthus, Odense, Denmark

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