Thursday, November 4, 2010

Album Review: Peter Broderick – Home

Peter Broderick has released a lot of music for a young fellow. This 2008 album was his first in the ‘singer-songwriter’ vein. On the face of it, it’s fairly unremarkable acoustic music. Yet it has some undefined quality which makes it stand out from the rest of the acoustic rabble.

Broderick is classically trained and plays all the instruments and provides all vocals here. Second track, And It’s Alright is typical of most of the songs here. It gently unfurls, with a deceptively simple melody over a gorgeous picked guitar. With The Notes In My Ears, Below It and Not At Home are also examples of this style, and equally good.

He also does a couple of instrumentals which use similar elements. The best of these is probably the six minute Sickness, Bury which starts with sparse, picked guitar before being joined by banjo and keyboard. The tune creates an unsettling atmosphere, sounding like it could soundtrack a journey over a wide expanse. Shards of electric guitar and percussion are thrown in, and even when the brief, wordless vocals come in, it maintains the tense atmosphere.

Later in the album, Maps is a bit of a departure in that it starts out as a plainly sung acoustic track before adding electric guitar midway through and building up to a choral climax, all celestial vocals and crashing cymbals.

It’s a charming bunch of songs, which I think holds the key to why this album stands out – songwriting.