Review of Aventine Album by Agnes Obel

It's called the hardest album, the difficult second album, and a successful debut really adds to that challenge.  When you've had a platinum selling number one debut album, the pressure is somewhat bigger and the audience expects more.  This is something Danish singer Agnes Obel will have thought about as she releases her much anticipated second album 'Aventine' on the 30th September.  

Agnes Obel Aventine Album

Following the glorious 2010 album 'Philharmonics'  is no easy job; an album that won the 32-year-old five music awards in her home country and propelled her to Goddess-like status in Denmark, Germany and Norway was always going be a task.  But this record is truly one to behold.

As with her first album, 'Aventine' opens up with beautiful piano solo 'Chord Left' which perfectly sets the tone for this record. Joined by two other piano solos, 'Tokka' and 'Fivefold', it is clear, as she has stated in many interviews, that French composer Henrik Satie has been one of her main influences.  The first single from the album, 'The Curse', and 'Run Cried The Crawling' are beautiful, string-led tracks and will have you reaching for the skip back button as you crave to listen again instantly.  On the other hand, the track order of this album flows flawlessly. Upcoming single 'Fuel to Fire' floats brilliantly into 'Dorian' , an enchanting and gentle number that allows you to forget everything around you as Obel's words melt into the gentle piano.  Title track 'Aventine' is the track with the most obvious string arrangement as the plucking effortlessly compliments Obel's calming voice. 'Pass Them By' is an angelic and lingering track full of feeling mixed with astounding strings, guitar and sultry vocals. 

The thought provoking 'Words Are Dead' is an emotional and haunting song, offering simple but affective lines such as "you're dead" and "don't cry for me" which make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up as you completely immerse yourself into this impeccable piece of music. The album finishes on an equally emotional note with 'Smoke and Mirrors'.  This soft and echoing number is the ideal way to end a phenomenal album. 

This album is simply stunning and, if possible, even more captivating than her first album. 'Aventine' is nothing short of mesmerising and it is clear that this 'difficult second album' will live up to expectation and could quite possibly surpass the success of its predecessor. 


Alice Barker

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