THE evolution of Angel Olsen has been stunning. In seven years the North Carolina native has developed from reflective folkie (Half Way Home) to lo-fi indie rocker (Burn Your Fire For No Witness) to Americana-pop queen (My Woman).
On album No.5 All Mirrors (if you include 2017's B-sides compilation Phases) Olsen has expanded her musical palette again for her most dramatic and elaborate record.
All Mirrors is a cinematic exploration of heartbreak, love, conflicting desires and self-discovery backed by a 12-piece string section that carries Olsen's emotive voice beyond its previous highs.
Amazingly the tracks were originally written for a bare-bones album, but a decision was made to add string arrangements from American composers Ben Babbitt and Jherek Bischoff.
It was a masterstroke. Some indie records become bloated and pretentious through orchestral sounds, but strings have made All Mirrors soar.
The opening one-two combination of Lark and All Mirrors are without a doubt the finest songs Olsen has written.
Lark is a pastiche of several songs that begins forlornly before the tension builds under a sea of foreboding strings - similar to Radiohead's Burn The Witch - and then explodes in a cascade of sound.
The opening one-two combination of Lark and All Mirrors are without a doubt the finest songs Olsen has produced.
While Lark depicts the breakdown of a relationship, rather than wallow in pity, it's a cathartic release, as Olsen belts out "What about my dreams?/ What about the heart?"
On My Woman's opening track, Intern, Olsen dabbled in synths, but on All Mirrors she has completely embraced keyboards to present a more ethereal landscape for her voice.
At times, like on Too Easy, Olsen sounds as if she's saddled up in a producer's chair next to Kevin Parker.
The title track is a shining example of the power of synths as the track swings between melancholy and grandeur, like a modern answer to Madonna's underrated '90s peak, Frozen.
All Mirrors also sees the 32-year-old accept her approaching middle age as a female in pop culture, when she sings, "Standin', facin', all mirrors are erasin'/ Losin' beauty, at least at times it knew me."
It's a topic Olsen addresses again on the nostalgic Spring, penned about realising that traditional desires like moving to the suburbs and starting a family are more attractive than you once believed. There Olsen sings, "Guess we're just at the mercy/ Of the way that we feel."
All Mirrors isn't as immediate as My Woman and it's single Shut Up Kiss Me, but it paints a richer and more encompassing picture of Olsen as a songwriter.
She's turned the mirrors of her artistry on herself and found a reflection of beauty.
READ MORE:Angel Olsen - My Woman - 4 stars