Agnes Obel (4 stars)

Agnes Obel

(PIAS Recordings)

Berlin-based Copenhagener Agnes Obel may well have just rewritten the book on ethereal pop. From ‘Falling, Catching’, the delicate opener of Satie/Einaudi piano cycles through its evocations of Sufjan Stevens, Stina Nordenstam, Badly Drawn Boy and Liz Fraser, Philharmonics should have Obel carving out her own fragile niche.

Staring out from the cover like a tainted Bergmanesque angel, Obel’s sparse, sweet, soundtracky melodies similarly penetrate the watcher/listener’s psyche, only occasionally threatening to plunge into the saccharine. Each time she veers slightly off-course, it’s pulled back, our hearts preparing to be punctured once more.

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