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Album Review: Agnes Obel – Aventine

3 min read

Danish singer/songwriter Agnes Obel returns with Aventine, a wonderful collection of simplistic beauty. Aventine is her first record since 2010’s debut Philharmonics, for which she won Best Album, Best Pop Release, Best Debut Artist, Best Female Artist and Best Songwriter of the Year at the 2011 Danish Music Awards. Listening through the new record, it’s no surprise that the talented 32 year old received so much success with her previous effort.

AgnesObelAventiveNot only is she a talented singer and pianist, Agnes also wrote, arranged, and produced the new album, as he did with her debut Philharmonics.

Aventine is the kind of album with such an understated beauty that it demands undivided attention to be appreciated fully. To semi-listen to it as background music while your attention is elsewhere will simply not do it justice.

The Berlin based artist recently released the first single from the album, The Curse, showing off her magical vocals against a casual, gentle piano infused background. Of the song, Agnes says:

“The Curse is one of the songs where I think I got closest to the initial idea I had when I started making the album,” says Agnes. “It’s very different from what I’ve done before but, at the same time, very much related to it.”

Beginning with the instrumental Chord Left, it’s clear what kind of album this will be. The song sets the tone for a piano-heavy, beautiful and delicate record, which is exactly what we are given. Another instrumental, Fivefold, appears as the second last song, a shorter and somewhat more upbeat piano tune.

When Agnes first starts to sing on Fuel to Fire, we are hit with her stunning vocals as she delivers a performance full of emotion and undeniable talent. The song is slow paced, much like the entire album, providing a peaceful and engaging experience.

The piano rhythm on Dorian is captivating, in fact so much so that it almost outshines Agnes’ gorgeous vocals at times. If her vocals were outshined, you only need to listen to Run Cried the Crawling (or any other song really – this is one talented woman!) to hear her vocal chords at their striking best.

The title song Aventine is as mesmerising and calming as the album it shares its name with as Obel puts together a charming vocal and instrumental arrangement.

The closing track Smoke & Mirrors draws resemblance to English trio Daughter, through the similarities in vocal style and mild piano background. A steady rhythm ending with an engaging piano solo results in this being a wonderful closing track to round out the album.

Aventine is an enchanting collection of songs and the perfect example of less is more. The simple piano and vocal style creates an elegant, cleanly polished record whose only downfall is that it seems to be over too quickly. It must be true what they say that time flies when you’re having fun!

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