Linnea Olsson: Breaking And Shaking

Sophomore release by a Gabriel favourite and recent bandmate.

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The punctual among Peter Gabriel’s audience for his So dates late in 2014 had an extra treat.

That was an opening performance, humbly introduced by the man himself, of two hand-picked Swedish talents in his band, playing their own short set. Jennie Abrahamson and Linnea Olsson deserve to see that showcase ratchet the admiration for their own work. We’ve enthused in Prog’s pages about Olsson’s debut album Ah!, notably its evocative instrumentation and imposing vocals that occasionally echoed Björk’s breathy other-worldliness. Now comes the singer-writer-cellist’s new set, on which the opening title track has a surprisingly spicy, almost glam-rock style sway about it. The experience of playing arenas has clearly been good for Olsson’s confidence. ‘Days are gone when I hurt me,’ she sings on Hurt, which would surely woo any Kate Bush disciple. That certain Scandinavian directness in Olsson’s lyrics plays well against their often preternatural presentation, which blends prog, modern rock and classical influences enticingly: Down builds on a bed of cellos on a track that could sit well on both 6 Music and the avant-garde end of Radio 3, and there aren’t many of those to the pound.

Paul Sexton

Prog Magazine contributor Paul Sexton is a London-based journalist, broadcaster and author who started writing for the national UK music press while still at school in 1977. He has written for all of the British quality press, most regularly for The Times and Sunday Times, as well as for Radio Times, Billboard, Music Week and many others. Sexton has made countless documentaries and shows for BBC Radio 2 and inflight programming for such airlines as Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific. He contributes to Universal's uDiscoverMusic site and has compiled numerous sleeve notes for the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and other major artists. He is the author of Prince: A Portrait of the Artist in Memories & Memorabilia and, in rare moments away from music, supports his local Sutton United FC and, inexplicably, Crewe Alexandra FC.