Agnes Obel
Citizen Of Glass


4.5
superb

Review

by shemson USER (2 Reviews)
November 9th, 2016 | 237 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The same beauty, but this time with a bit more bite.

Agnes Obel is a wonderful Danish artist who has just released her third album Citizen Of Glass. The problem is that nowhere near enough people have heard of her yet, though this may all be about to change...

Agnes' musical career began in 2010 with the release of Philharmonics. The singer/songwriter/composer's debut album's combination of simple but ridiculously catchy melodies lead to a warm and embracing album. Most of the songs were laid back and stripped down being predominantly piano driven with one or two strings or plucked guitars thrown in for good measure. What followed was 2014's Aventine, which was a critics masterpiece. Aventine combined the simple piano and vocal lead melodies from Philharmonics but this time with grand orchestral tones added to the mix. The laid back, mostly major, feel of her debut was replaced by a sinister undertone amongst the up front beauty of her voice and piano. But why was this just a critics masterpiece and not a world wide smash hit? I guess it's difficult to market a modern classical folk singer songwriter from Denmark nowadays.

I think it's important to quickly touch on Obel's previous works so we can talk about why this album is both a bold step whilst remaining on her already well tread path. The album is still, on the whole, Obel's voice (more on that later) and mostly piano driven compositions. The radical change here however is that this time instead of the warm inviting strings accompanying her we have mostly subtle, hollow sounding electronic instruments. This change both continues the more haunting feel of her sound which has been developing during her previous albums whilst also making the album feel more modern. With this more up to date production guiding her it feels like Agnes Obel could now be about to get the recognition she deserves for her talents.

But I've gotten this far without mentioning her talents... so what are they then? Firstly, though I said she plays mostly simple melodies, it is clear Obel is a very accomplished pianist with a knack for writing total ear worms but what sets her apart from all others is her voice. Her voice is perfection with added reverb. She has always felt inviting and warm, making you desperate to hear what's coming next whilst hitting soaring high notes and surprisingly effective low sections too but now she's taken her vocal experiments to the next level.

This is best typified on the first two singles from the album 'Golden Green' and 'Familiar'. 'Golden Green' has piercing highs, unusual harmonies, a very effective low register pre-chorus and the most playful second verse you'll hear this year as Obel evokes her inner Kate Bush. 'Familiar' on the other hand uses vocal experiments of an entirely different fashion using that modern production to pitch shift her bridge down giving a bizarre but pleasing tone.

As with her first two albums this has been a grower for me, perhaps it was because I was expecting a follow up similar to Aventine which I adored, but since I've gotten used to the new style I just fell in love all over again. I wouldn't say there's a bad track in her discography so far but if I had to pick a few favourites from this album, I'd recommend listening to 'Golden Green' 'Stretch Your Eyes' and 'Familiar'.

If you give one artist you've never heard of a try during the rest of the year, make it Agnes Obel. There's little point begging you to listen if you've heard her previous work as you know you will.


user ratings (129)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Shemson
November 8th 2016


1932 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Been hanging around here about a year now so here's a contribution.



Album/Artist is beautiful as always.

RadicalEd
November 9th 2016


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Cool review. Album was a disappointment (even though it's by no means bad) for me though.

Shemson
November 9th 2016


1932 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks man, I felt similar at first TBH I wasn't really sure what I heard. Because I loved her previous work though I gave it a few more listens and it really grew on me hard, I've played it about 15 times now and love it!

Mythodea
November 9th 2016


6569 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is excellent and it's my real introduction to Agnes (the previous one, I just scratched the surface). Really good, but I'd like it if the songs had more character to tell them apart. Familiar's lyrics and vocals, though, are superb, totally a highlight of the album.

bnelso55
November 9th 2016


1355 Comments


Glad this got a review. Good work. I'm looking forward to checking this out.

polyrhythm
November 9th 2016


2478 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

aoty

Shemson
November 9th 2016


1932 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hey Mythodea you should definitely give Aventine a few more spins if you didn't before, it's probably my personal favourite of all time.

Mythodea
November 9th 2016


6569 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really? Wow, that's a bold statement, but I'm glad to listen. Will pm you when I've fully digested it.

polyrhythm
November 9th 2016


2478 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Aventine is fucking perfect

Shemson
November 10th 2016


1932 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah Poly Aventine is the best.



Yeah hit me up Mythodea, nobody I've recced it to so far has been left disappointed!

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
November 10th 2016


3682 Comments


Just some minor nitpicks with the review: "critics" should have an apostrophe, phrases like "warm inviting" might read better with a comma in between, and certain phrases such as "piano driven" could be hyphenated. Whilst I love the tone as well, I think the review itself could be structured a little better. For instance, rather that signposting a particular thing you're going to talk about, such as "Obel's previous works", and then going on to list the positives, I think it could be phrased a little more naturally, perhaps by toning down the informal, conversational language.

Without getting rid of it, however, because I think it's charming. Just need to find a good balance. Because this is an otherwise great first review, mate! Pos'd, keep it up. I'm not sure how to feel about the album itself. You've made me want to give Aventine a listen, though, so I might start with that.

Sinternet
November 10th 2016


24221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

'"critics" should have an apostrophe'

reads awkwardly regardless, perhaps rephrase this bit to 'which was critically acclaimed', same with the other mention of that phrase



anyway nice review good alblum, i'll post some more feedback when i have some time

TheCrocodile
November 10th 2016


2925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album slays obv

Hyndez
November 21st 2016


160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Mary >

grindcorecore
November 21st 2016


619 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

no trojan horses >

Hyndez
November 24th 2016


160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

no it's happening again >

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2016


24818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

2 songs in I already know I am gonna love this album

Digging: Nightwish - Wishmaster

FullOfSounds
December 13th 2016


15793 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

well this is good to say the least

theBoneyKing
December 13th 2016


20678 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm still planning on jamming this before the year is out but time is getting slim

polyrhythm
December 14th 2016


2478 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

my AOTY



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