Music review: Angel Olsen, Barrowland, Glasgow

Missouri singer-songwriter Angel Olsen has expanded her sound – and subsequently her fanbase – with her shimmering soulful fourth album, All Mirrors, all the better to fill Barrowland with lashings of dark David Lynchian romance on Valentine’s Day.

Angel Olsen PIC: Matt Cowan/Getty Images

Angel Olsen, Barrowland, Glasgow **** 


This was a gig for the romantic fatalists – Olsen’s rich and sultry voice was easy to fall for but there was a beseeching quality to her soaring, legato notes communicating raw emotions in a relatively sumptuous setting of expansive indie rock with bonus twinkling keyboardsand tremulous violin and cello deployed throughout.

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Olsen was keenly aware her set was more brittle catharsis than a cosy confirmation of love and devotion but she sent out Valentine’s wishes anyway and received a few offers in return, including a bottle of Buckfast from which she and her bandmates gamely swigged, and later used to play bottleneck slide guitar.


With the genteel atmosphere punctured, she tapped into an end-of-tour playfulness but also the melancholy of parting which played well within the context of her music.


An extended tease on writing a brand new song about the end of the tour ended with a reworked version of an older song, Shut Up Kiss Me.
But although there was a fair amount of adoration from the crowd, there was also distracted chatter round the margins as Olsen failed to engage the entire room.


That changed when she dispensed with her band momentarily for a solo cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Tougher Than the Rest, followed by her own best song from the set, the country rhapsody Chance. Fiona Shepherd