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Linnea Olsson - Ah! (Review)

Linnea Olsson, Ah!

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

LINNEA Olsson’s debut album Ah! marks the arrival of a distinct new talent.

The Swedish cellist has actually made a name for herself by working with fellow Scandinavian artists Ane Brun, Nina Kinert and Frida Hyvonen. But now she’s front and centre and the results are quietly spellbinding.

Ah! offers a collection of lush cello pop records that have a hypnotic beauty surrounding them, often deceptively so.

The low, mournful notes that open the album with Ocean may set you up to suspect an album that sits comfortably alongside the neo-classical movement, but after luring you into a false sense of tranquility, it then layers in the pop moments.

Title track Ah! has a playfulness about its violin arrangement, while Linnea’s husky (sometimes ethereal) vocal lends it a spell-binding focal point.

It sets in motion a beguiling 40 minutes of songs that, somewhat uniquely, consist almost solely of Olsson’s vocals and her beloved cello (aside a Middle Eastern goblet drum called a darbuka).

Further highlights come in the form of Dinosaur (a former IndieLondon single of the week), which offers a rich and creative song, underpinned by Linnea’s tongue-in-cheek sense of humour and a bittersweet sound.

The cello gives it an instantly distinct sound, as well as a vaguely melancholy backdrop, upon which Olsson drops a beautiful set of vocals that are both disarming and slightly quirky (especially given the oddball lyrics).

Guilt also contrasts some darker lyrics with a sombre, yet striking, cello arrangement, All For You has a more pop vibe with some lush vocal harmonies over another of the album’s more accessible choruses, and It’s OK has a dreamy, hypnotic quality that also leans towards the cinematic.

There’s also a serene beauty to penultimate offering Never Again, which combines ballad elements with an almost classical backdrop, while Goodbye rounds things off with a lovely instrumental arrangement, as if to emphasise Olsson’s love of her cello.

Throughout, though, this is an album that offers something resolutely different yet richly satisfying.

Download picks: Dinosaur, Ah!, Guilt, All For You, Fortune, Never Again

Track listing:

  1. The Ocean
  2. Ah!
  3. Giddy Up
  4. Guilt
  5. All For You
  6. It’s OK
  7. Fortune
  8. Summer
  9. Dinosaur
  10. Never Again
  11. Goodbye