Agnes Obel’s Haunting Chamber Pop

Her beautiful new album is likely to soothe the dark night of the soul.

Alex Bruel Flagstad

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 Agnes Obel
Citizen of Glass
Play it Again Sam

Agnes Obel’s music would be the perfect soundtrack for a scary movie, but not a brutish modern one—her haunting chamber pop belongs in the world of old-fashioned spooky films like the 1940s classics “Cat People” and “The Uninvited.” (David Lynch is reportedly a fan, which makes sense.) Citizen of Glass, the Danish singer’s wonderfully transfixing third outing, weaves old and new instruments, including strings, piano, mellotron and the Trautonium, an early 20th-century ancestor of the synthesizer, into a luminous backdrop for her eerily composed vocals. Poised and uneasy at once, Obel seems to be revisiting episodes of extreme distress from a distance, as if seeking to dull the trauma through calm reflection. As she declares in “It’s Happening Again,” “The past isn’t dead/It’s alive, it’s happening/In the back of my head.” The result is a beautiful album likely to soothe the dark night of the soul, or induce an anxiety attack.

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