Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
Buy On
  1. Nov 10, 2017
    91
    With its plaintive lyrics, Phases further shows that Olsen, like those venerable musicians, is a persistent truth teller, an authentic voice no matter what style she’s working in.
  2. Nov 16, 2017
    80
    Many of the tracks vary to such a degree that those not acquainted with Olsen would be forgiven for thinking they were not by the same artist, yet to those who appreciate her work, the artist’s strong narrative ties the collection together.
  3. 80
    As a crucial companion piece to her LPs proper, Phases achieves the rare distinction of must-have odds-and-ends album.
  4. Nov 13, 2017
    80
    A series of alternate takes, compilation tracks and previously unreleased songs that hail, aesthetically, from the Burn Your Fire and before era. Which is to say, they are pared back, emotionally lacerating and carried by Olsen’s eerie country soprano, which wobbles and flutters in a high lonesome style somewhere between Patsy Cline and Roy Orbison.
  5. Nov 9, 2017
    80
    Unlike the limitations that come with a tight studio album, each Phases track has space to fulfil its own purpose. The tracks sway about a bit, and, in doing so, make for a vast and emotionally compelling collection of songs.
  6. Nov 9, 2017
    80
    Here, she moves through songs about love and life that, whether because of the cavernous, sometimes tinny production or her timeless songwriting style (and often, both), feel channelled from some ghostly past where musical arrangement was simpler but emotions weren't.
  7. Phases is a deeply autumnal album, perfectly for listening to while strolling down dimly lit side streets with crisp leaves underfoot.
  8. Nov 9, 2017
    80
    Phases nevertheless reaffirms its singer’s preeminence in the current milieu of indie rock. Pulling from material as recent as January and as early as 2010, the album aggregates Olsen’s previously unreleased work into a collection that vacillates between retrospection and contemporariness.
  9. Nov 10, 2017
    79
    Phases isn’t as cohesive as her previous albums but, terrific and revelatory in its own right, it feels like a link between them, a trail of dropped clues to the creative process of the defiantly mercurial Olsen.
  10. Nov 9, 2017
    76
    If Phases proves anything, it’s that Olsen’s discards are better than a lot of artists’ best efforts. Like her name suggests, she seems otherworldly, celestial--her impressive consistency and ability to transcend genre and era with seeming ease, nothing short of divine.
  11. Jan 10, 2018
    70
    For fans of Half Way Home, Phases might be a welcome reminder that Olsen still has her lo-fi sensibilities intact. Fans who flocked to Olsen in the last couple years though won't find a lot to hold their attention, especially when listening to the album front to back. Despite this, there are gems galore to be found on the album, some of which could go head-to-head with the best of Olsen's work.
  12. Magnet
    Dec 22, 2017
    70
    What Phases lacks in structural coherence it makes up for in the stirring depth of the individual performances. These are worthy outliers. [No. 149, p.61]
  13. Uncut
    Nov 16, 2017
    70
    Less, often, is more. The home demos of "sans" is powerfully raw. [Jan 2018, p.39]
  14. Nov 14, 2017
    70
    Phases is a useful entry into Olsen's back catalogue with heavy stress on the 'back'. For those new to her work, this is a good introduction to her older work, and moreover, yet another example of her incredible talent as a storyteller and composer.
  15. 70
    Olsen locates every last ounce of heartache within the song’s tale of someone who’s trapped between wanderlust and homesickness. If these are the leftovers, it’s fun to imagine how tasty Angel Olsen’s next main course will be.
  16. Nov 9, 2017
    70
    While likely of interest mostly to dedicated fans due to the eclectic nature of the recordings, it may also pique the curiosity of those less familiar with Olsen's growing, distinctive catalog.
  17. Nov 9, 2017
    70
    For first-time listeners the distinctly compilation nature of the record could prove disorientating and less rewarding a listen than any of Olsen’s singular, more complete albums. But that’s generally the case in any rarities album. For fans of Olsen's work this is a treasure trove of lesser known recordings that capture the artist in a period in which her sound was ever-evolving and progressing.
  18. Nov 13, 2017
    60
    Opener Fly On Your Wall is oddly reminiscent of the plodding, tense quality of some of John Lennon/ Plastic Ono Band – the bits where Ringo appears to be playing biscuit tins--that is, until Olsen’s soaraway, otherworldly vocals take it somewhere altogether more spectral. Special follows, a languid jam that could have easily slotted on to the last album.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 25 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 25
  2. Negative: 2 out of 25
  1. Jan 4, 2018
    7
    Really excellent insight into Olsen's creative process. Love the collection here. Bravo!
  2. Dec 3, 2017
    7
    There were a few strong standouts when the melody and harmony locked in together with both individuality and familiarity to shape an overallThere were a few strong standouts when the melody and harmony locked in together with both individuality and familiarity to shape an overall enjoyable work, but with the timbral decisions being mostly afterthoughts and an inability to strike gold with every melody, this is merely a fine easygoing presentation that has its moments but doesn’t replace the original non-compilation albums. My Score: 128/180 (Good) = 7.1/10 Full Review »