Strings buzz like cicadas muffled through insulated walls before an electric guitar strums and Angel Olsen, with resigned wisdom, sings, "To forget you is to lie, there is still so much left to recover / If only we could start again pretending we don't know each other." A drum kick thumps along to a heartbeat, mimicking a quiet resolve that can't help but quicken and scream.
From "Lonely Universe" to "Forgiven/Forgotten" to "Those Were the Days," Olsen has become a master of characters who ache to move forward, but are pulled to an ever-present past. These folks are incredibly self-aware and accepting of their earthly fate; but "Lark," from the forthcoming All Mirrors, expands to the metaphysical, where dreams can separate us from reality.
Jherek Bischoff — a composer who pulls at the edges of orchestral music, who arranges "Lark" here — seems to take a page from Scott Walker. Think of the disembodied strings found on Scott 3 or even on the spare Scott 4, where the slow-motion arrangement bursts at the song's most rapturous moments. There's a tenderness in the torrent, an empathy wrung out in a sublime cascade of sound.
"Dream on, dream on," Olsen repeats like a mantra to herself, like an admonition to someone who can't love every single part of someone who lives partly through dreams.
All Mirrors comes out Oct. 4 via Jagjaguwar.