Although Agnes Obel is a relative newcomer in the U.S., sheÂ’s made waves overseas over the past year. Born in Copenhagen and currently based in Berlin, AgnesÂ’ sparse chamber folk has been lauded worldwide. After building substantial word-of-mouth praise across Europe, Philharmonics was originally released in Europe on Play It Again Sam. The album was hailed by critics who compared Agnes to the likes of PJ Harvey, Joanna Newsom, and Roy Orbison. The album topped the charts in Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium and in France where publications like Le Monde and Le Figaro prominently featured Agnes as a new artist to watch. Following the release of Philharmonics, there were a series of sold-out dates in The Netherlands, France and Denmark. And in a bit of fortuitous happenstance, AgnesÂ’ debut was certified Gold in France on January 21st, which also happens to be St. Agnes Day.
Has it really been almost three years since Philharmonics? Agnes ObelÂ’s debut album still sounds as fresh as a daisy. A delicate flower which became a quiet phenomenom, selling almost half a million copies to date. Philharmonics received a gold award in Holland, platinum awards in Belgium and France, and went quintuple platinum in her native state of Denmark, where Agnes won five Danish Music Awards (the Danish Brits) in 2011.
They say the sophomore album is the most difficult of all. You spend your whole life preparing the debut LP, but as soon as its out there, the clock starts ticking for the follow-up. So how did Agnes Obel, European Border Breakers prizewinner in 2012, succeed in avoiding the traditional pitfalls of album 2?
Aventine is Agnes Obel putting things into perspective. A second album adds depth to the picture, otherwise the first record stands alone as a snapshot of brilliance without any real indication of where the journey is heading.