Angel Olsen knows how to construct an album. Listening through her catalog from “Half Way Home” to her most recent release, “My Woman,” you can hear the time Olsen has spent meticulously curating each album. Her attention to detail makes them the strong collections that they are—not one song is out of place. But, for those few songs that didn’t fit into Olsen’s perfectly crafted LPs, Olsen has gathered them together for “Phases”: an assortment of rarities, covers, and demos. Olsen has built a working body of music, and this collection shows you the bones this body first required in order to grow.
The name “Phases” encompasses the album well. It takes listeners on Olsen’s journey of musical change throughout the past few years. You hear her own influences in covers of Bruce Springsteen’s “Tougher than the Rest” and Roky Erickson’s “For You.” Although not her own songs, Olsen takes the opportunity to strip these ones back to their bare bones as well—putting her own magical touch on them.
“Phases” brings together an assortment of songs that tell the tale of a traveling troubadour. The songs compiled on it never feel locked in one place, but rather they roam. This geographic detachment is reflective of the heavy touring schedule Olsen has been on since the release of “My Woman.” Olsen has been gallivanting across the globe, never in one place too long.
On the brand new track “Sans,” she sings, “Time moves so strangely when you’re moving all the time.” Olsen managed to capture that in this collection. “Phases” takes listeners on a trip through Olsen’s world, and they have Olsen’s unique and identifiable voice to keep them oriented.