Philharmonics is the first studio album by the Danish singer-songwriter Agnes Obel. It was released from 17 September 2010 by PIAS. The album received positive reviews from both Danish and international music critics. Philharmonics peaked at number one in Denmark and Belgium, and charted inside the top ten in France and the Netherlands. The album has sold 450,000 copies in Europe.
Agnes Obel's pristine, delicate 2010 debut, Philharmonics, was an unexpected platinum-selling sensation here in Denmark, and a hit throughout Europe. The sudden fame left her reeling, and on Aventine, the classically trained pianist/singer has tried to make sense of things. Accompanied mainly by a single cellist, she has created a quiet, watchful record – a response to having spent 18 months in "a blur" of touring. The lyrics are impressionistic sketches (on Fuel to Fire, she sighs: "Roses on parade, they follow you round"), suggesting she saved the real firepower for the exquisite arrangements: sculpting strings and piano into beautifully melancholy ripples. Like Ane Brun and Seventh Tree-era Alison Goldfrapp, Obel is exceedingly good at conveying weariness and disorientation through sound: Run Cried the Crawling's pizzicato-plucked cello and otherworldly violin-swoops evoke the desolation of being awake at 3am, as do The Curse's precise droplets of strings and vocals. A wonderful autumn album.