The second album effort by musician and song-writer Agnes Obel titled ‘Aventine’ balances delicate classical instrumentals, with gorgeous and haunting vocal melodies that build up into wonderful songs that conjure up a wonderful array of pictures and emotions. On her second album, we see Agnes Obel using classical instrumentals, comprised of string instruments and pianos to help build up the tracks of every song, on top of which Agnes Obel simply sings, letting her own voice communicate the wonderful range of ideas and stories that the songs are building up. The whole album experience comes across as incredibly strong, and although it feels rather dark for the most part, it is still an incredibly enjoyable album.
When it comes to classical compositions, it always feels that it’s somewhat hit and miss when it comes to adding vocals on top of the instrumentals. Some artists manage to make it work incredibly well, whilst other don’t. When it comes to Agnes Obel, the vocals themselves are as interesting as the dark and haunting instrumental tracks that back her up. Agnes Obel’s vocal style could be described as a pop-style, fusing together with what comes across as classical composition, making ‘Aventine’ somewhat of a genre-fusing album. It’s ultimately been done before, but Agnes Obel manages to make every track on the album work for her, with there being little to no truly weak moments on the album. Everything is haunting and/or beautiful, where emotions and feelings weave themselves into the songs layers, conjuring up some form of image that is individual to each listener. What’s truly lovely on ‘Aventine’ though is how nothing seems truly forced upon the listener, but rather it allows one to sit back and let the music wash over them, whilst still sounding brilliant in the process.
Where ‘Aventine’ faults is in the album’s progression, especially in the latter part of the album, where it almost comes across that Agnes Obel is running out of ideas. In the album’s second part, it seems that a lot of the instrumentals on the songs become repetitive, with Agnes Obel using the same techniques and the same ideas over and over. Instrumentals and vocal presentation become the same in a few of the songs, making some come across as a bit unoriginal when compared to the whole album. Considering the strength of ‘Aventine’, it’s disappointing that it is somewhat inconsistent when it comes down to each individual song.
‘Aventine’ though, still comes cross as a very strong and accomplished album. It is every bit as haunting as Lisa Germano, but also every bit as beautiful as some of Ludovico Einaudi’s music. It’s a wonderful album that will certainly drum up a lot of attention for Agnes Obel, who has managed to present what could be described as a nearly-flawless album. The one or two negative traits of ‘Aventine’ simply aren’t enough for it to drag down the whole overall album, as the many strengths of ‘Aventine’ simply shine through in such brilliant style that it completely squashes any negative traits. To put it simply, ‘Aventine’ is a wonderful and glorious album.
- ★★★★☆ 4/5
- Fuel To Fire
- The Curse
- Smoke & Mirrors
Agnes Obel’s second album ‘Aventine’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://www.agnesobel.com/