Since first emerging at the end of the last century, US singer and songwriter Sufjan Stevens has been one of the most applauded artists working in the world today. After numerous releases that see him explore the most intimate to the most intense sides of his persona, through a rich and diverse array of instrumentation and aesthetic, the artist has now shifted gears as he unveils his highly-anticipated eighth studio album 'The Ascension', a record that sees him leave out the minimal direction in pursuit of something more electronic and atmospheric throughout.
Although many will miss the more humbled side to his style on this new collection, 'The Ascension' does make for a fresh and warming return for the artist. Following in the footsteps of Bon Iver with its broad and cinematic intentions, this new release looks to take the bright and sensationalised feel of his work and filter it through a lens of breathtaking production that sees him embark on a whole new path throughout. There is this simple beauty in what he has created here, leaving us feeling that although it may not hit the mark every time, it is a brave and captivating showcase of what we have grown to love from him over the years.
From the start, 'The Ascension' is meant to appear as the black sheep in his catalogue to date. He is no longer interested in following his own formula anymore, and instead treats us to a vast array of sparkling synth-pop offerings that still stay true to his own fixed place on the scene. Enticing and enjoyable throughout, Sufjan Stevens is still managing to spellbind us after twenty in the game.