Angel Olsen has been promoting the release of her new album, Phases, for the past couple of months, and now it’s finally out in the world. The album itself is a collection of b-sides, demos, and rarities, but that explanation definitely sells it short. This is not some half-baked odds and ends album. Instead, it often feels like a unified work.
The songs themselves come from different years, different phases in her career, but more often than not much of it recalls her 2014 LP Burn Your Fire For No Witness. Most of the songs have the same stripped back, lo-fi aesthetic present all over that album. But the lack of sheen and polish is part of what made that LP, as well as this new one, all the more compelling.
My Woman still might be her best album yet. It saw a rise in production values, without ever losing the genius and charm that her earlier work had. However, Phases is a nice little follow-up to such a grand achievement. It scales things back down and reminds you that at the heart of Olsen’s work is a profound sense of closeness. It may be billed as a collection of extra material, but in the end it stands toe-to-toe with her regular studio albums in terms of sheer greatness.