ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Albums of b-sides and rarities are usually just of interest to devoted fans only, but when the artist in question is Angel Olsen and the collection of songs is as special as this one, it deserves to reach a far wider audience. The Missouri native is one of the finest tunesmiths working in the US today and her second and third albums — Burn Your Fire For No Witness and My Woman — demonstrate not just her gifts, but the wide scope of her influences. It’s the same story on these career-spanning songs, some of which have been released before. There’s considerable beauty in the smartly arranged duo of ‘California’ and ‘Special’ — songs that would be considered far more than mere b-sides by most musicians — and there’s much to admire in the druggy, hypnotic ‘Fly On Your Wall’. Olsen is at her best when she strips everything back and that’s certainly the case on the guitar-and-voice pair, ‘Sans’ and ‘Only With You’. Like much of her material, these songs find her lamenting some poor luck and poor choices in matters of the heart. On the evidence of the quality of these tracks, may her misfortunes in love continue.