12 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Danish singer/songwriter Agnes Obel’s sophomore album is a sustained act of dark seduction, filled with shifting atmospheres and buried emotions that never fully reveal themselves. Aventine often has the stately elegance of a classical recital, though the desires seething underneath always threaten to break through its sometimes prim surfaces. The album’s stark piano lines are reinforced by insinuating string arrangements that twitch, swoon, and caress according to the needs of each song. Obel’s singing is restrained yet evocative, combining subtle jazzy accents with a waiflike quality that suggests a precocious child daydreaming on a winter’s day. Tracks like the pensive “Fuel to Fire,” the bittersweet “Pass Them By," and the ghostly, bleakly romantic “Run Cried the Crawling” evoke classic film soundtracks through their fragmented imagery and gauzy orchestrations. The prickly tingle of the title tune finds balance in the lullaby-like languor of “Smoke & Mirrors.” “The Curse” stands out for its eerie yet inviting pictures of decay and renewal, reinforced by plucked strings and sweetly cooed vocals.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Danish singer/songwriter Agnes Obel’s sophomore album is a sustained act of dark seduction, filled with shifting atmospheres and buried emotions that never fully reveal themselves. Aventine often has the stately elegance of a classical recital, though the desires seething underneath always threaten to break through its sometimes prim surfaces. The album’s stark piano lines are reinforced by insinuating string arrangements that twitch, swoon, and caress according to the needs of each song. Obel’s singing is restrained yet evocative, combining subtle jazzy accents with a waiflike quality that suggests a precocious child daydreaming on a winter’s day. Tracks like the pensive “Fuel to Fire,” the bittersweet “Pass Them By," and the ghostly, bleakly romantic “Run Cried the Crawling” evoke classic film soundtracks through their fragmented imagery and gauzy orchestrations. The prickly tingle of the title tune finds balance in the lullaby-like languor of “Smoke & Mirrors.” “The Curse” stands out for its eerie yet inviting pictures of decay and renewal, reinforced by plucked strings and sweetly cooed vocals.

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