# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Agnes Obel - Philharmonics

  by Jon Rogers

published: 12 / 10 / 2010

Agnes Obel - Philharmonics
Label: Play It Again Sam
Format: CD


Understated and autumnal debut album from Danish pianist and singer-songwriter, Agnes Obel

The press release for this Danish musician states “Agnes Caroline Thaarup Obel likes Afred Erik Lesley Satie and Sonic Youth, Debussy and Dylan [Thomas or Bob?], Hitchcock [Robyn or Alfred?] and PJ Harvey.” Quite an eclectic mix there but Obel is much more in the vein of contemplative singer-songwriters that do a neat line in confessional, plaintive songs. A sort of Tori Amos without the histrionics. And some would see parallels with Joanna Newsom too. Needless to say there’s not really any of the creative inventiveness of Satie, no thrashing about of Sonic Youth or lyrical wordplay of Dylan and no rawness of PJ Harvey. Instead the listener is charmed by Obel’s rather understated and unassuming stance. After all ‘Philharmonics’ kicks off with the gentle piano instrumental ‘Falling Catching’. Something like that doesn’t necessarily catch your attention but Obel doesn’t force you to listen, but does, slowly but surely, manage to convince you that this is worth listening to. Elsewhere, as on songs like ‘Riverside’ and the title track and a cover of John Cale’s ‘I Keep a Close Watch’, her gentle voice and piano are filled out with things like guitars and cellos that serve to add richer notes to the textures and create a more accomplished sound. Obel’s music inhabits that slight twilight world of dusky autumnal evenings. Where the light has started to fade and things quite aren’t as clear as they once were. Which is rather in stark contrast to the album cover portrait. And stark is the word. In the picture Obel appears like some severe religious school teacher from some Ingmar Bergaman film. Her hair is tightly pulled back and pinned up and her cold blue eyes stare out at you, unflinching. But don’t let that deter you, there’s a lot of warmth and gentleness in ‘Philharmonics’.

Track Listing:-
1 Falling, Catching
2 Riverside
3 Brother Sparrow
4 Just So
5 Beast
6 Louretta
7 Avenue
8 Philharmonics
9 Close Watch
10 Wallflower
11 Over the Hill
12 On Powdered Ground
13 Smoke & Mirrors (Live in Copenhagen)
14 Katie Cruel (Live in Copenhagen)
15 Sons & Daughters (Live in Copenhagen)
16 Louretta (Live in Copenhagen)
17 Philharmonics (Live in Copenhagen)
18 Close Watch (Live in Copenhagen)
19 Avenue (Piano Sessions)
20 Riverside (Piano Sessions)
21 Brother Sparrow (Piano Sessions)
22 Just So (Piano Sessions)
23 On Powdererd Ground (Piano Sessions)

Label Links:-

Have a Listen:-

Post A Comment

your name
ie London, UK
Check box to submit

Pennyblackmusic Regular Contributors