Cello Pop is a genre title that serves as an oxymoron. However it is the genre with which Linnea Olsson’s album “Ah!” has been labelled. A more fitting category for the Swede’s début offering would be Neo-Classical as she combines a familiar sound with orchestral elements.
Opening track The Ocean is an enjoyable cello solo that instantly intrigues you into listening to more. As the album progresses the listener is treated to both uplifting and sombre tracks. The former being exemplified by the title track which is championed by the ever-present cello and an interesting drumbeat created by a middle eastern instrument called a darbuka.
The latter is most obvious with Guilt; a dark and lamenting song which is intensified by a restrained plucking of the cello strings. The real poignancy is in the lyrics: “It hurts so much I want to cry/and when I cry it hurts so much I want to die”.
The beautiful thing about the cello is that it brilliantly expresses melancholy and for that reason Olsson’s more emotional songs stand out on this album. Take Fortune for example, it conveys a true sense of longing, further pressed by the drawling motifs and Olsson’s husky voice. It is one of those songs you simply consume in silence, appreciative of it’s beauty.
It is difficult to pick a highlight from this album, flooded with musical artistry and touching sentiment, however All For You just about steals the crown. It is a solid, upbeat number with a likeness to St. Vincent’s more cheery works. With multi-track vocals and soaring harmonisation cascading over the cello backing; this is one track that will stay with you for days.
Originality is practically non-existent when it comes to music these days. Between sickly sweet guitar chicks, to husky voiced male singer-songwriters and the cheeky chappy indie band; we’ve heard it all at this stage. At least that is what you will have assumed before you listen to Olsson’s fabulous album. The partnership between Olsson and her instrument of choice is an aural feast that you will wish to revisit again and again.