Sunday, September 19, 2010

Album Review: Peter Broderick – How They Are

Peter Broderick is an American musician/composer in his early twenties who has played with Efterklang but also has released a considerable amount of music. Some of it is classical pieces, and some is fairly conventional singer-songwriter stuff. This is more of a ‘mini-album’ as it features only 7 tracks.

The first track, Sideline, opens with just his voice for the first 2 minutes. His singing voice is somewhat unremarkable, making the moment when the piano joins quite welcome! Actually it’s a good track, which works well as does following track, the oddly titled Human Eyeballs on Toast, which is also piano-led, and a deceptively cheerful vocal from Broderick, as the subject matter sounds far from cheery! His vocal reminds me of Nick Drake, or Irish singer-songwriter Paul O’Reilly.

He has a wonderful light touch which makes his songs sound kind of slight and simple at first, but they pull you in. He puts this into play with a great, ‘sketchy’ guitar on Guilt’s Tune, which also features piano but no actual singing, he merely speaks the lyrics on this one. When I’m Gone and Pulling the Rain are piano instrumentals, very fine pieces indeed, particularly the latter, which is as stately and refined a piano piece as one could hope to hear in 2010.

Final track, Hello to Nils has no piano, just Broderick’s guitar, which is a nice closing track, probably the most conventional on the album with a proper chorus (“I say goodbye too often”).

The whole album has a kind of onset of winter feel to it. It’s fine music. If you like his album Home, which is one of his more accessible albums, this is almost as accessible.