View Full Version : new Mark Olson Album - all music review

10-24-2017, 10:42 PM
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming [-]
After an ill-considered detour into world music on his 2014 album Good-bye Lizelle, former Jayhawk Mark Olson has moved back to somewhat more familiar ground with 2017's Spokeswoman of the Bright Sun. Like Good-bye Lizelle, Spokeswoman finds Olson collaborating with his wife and musical partner, Norwegian musician Ingunn Ringvold, and while the subtle twang of his work with the Jayhawks is largely absent, most of this music falls somewhere between contemporary folk and sunny pastoral pop, with a melodic sense that should feel familiar to anyone who has spent time with Olson's work. The performances are dominated by acoustic guitars, with electric instruments adding counterpoint and Ringvold adding additional colors on the Mellotron, with the simulated strings adding a shade of Baroque pop to the mix. Considering the bulk of the album was recorded in Olson and Ringvold's living room using a portable recording unit, Spokeswoman sounds remarkably lush, with John Schreiner's mix sounding at once airy and richly detailed, making the most of Olson and Ringvold's harmonies. Spokeswoman of the Bright Sun sounds so good, one can't help but wish the album was more interesting; while the music is often lovely on the surface, repeated listenings make it clear these songs are simply too languid for their own good, and the sun-dappled drift of this music ultimately spends most of its time stuck in one place. And Olson's lyrics, full of his usual meditations on life, love, and spirituality, don't engage the listener in the manner of his best work; these songs bring to mind the old saw about drama being impossible without conflict, and while Olson might not have been aiming for drama, he sure doesn't offer much to connect with. Spokeswoman of the Bright Sun is a decided improvement over Good-bye Lizelle, but despite the strength of its craft, it's still a disappointing effort from a major talent.

10-25-2017, 11:45 AM
Interesting... thanks for posting. I wonder if this will be available in the US?
I would like to hear it...

10-25-2017, 11:34 PM
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