Mrs MPT reckons I’ve been going through a noisy musical phase recently. Which is partly, but not entirely true. Because in amongst all the Wire, Whigs & Rakes and United Fruit, I’ve also been listening to Agnes Obel‘s ‘Philharmonics’, originally released in 2010.
Discovering the Danish singer/songwriter was down to a couple of coincidences and some spare credits on my emusic account. And I think it’s fair to say that Agnes Obel is not a noisy musician.
Instead this is a quiet record with the singer’s vocals very much placed to the forefront of the mix. Every song features her piano playing too, whether as lead or backing, and that’s sufficiently different from your normal rock record to suggest some classical training.
As well as piano, there’s some acoustic guitar, muted drums and, towards the end of the record some nice cello too.
Overall it’s a gentle but beautiful and sad record with some intricate melodies. So in many ways it’s not a natural fit for me but it stands out by virtue of being so different.
Interestingly enough ‘Philharmonics’ has been a massively selling record in some European countries reaching number 1 in both Denmark and Belgium. I know we Brits can be a bit dismissive of some European countries musical tastes but it seems to me that any country which can put this record at number 1 has something going for it.