CD Review: Peter Broderick – How They Are

Seems like I’m already sticking to one new year’s resolution: discovering more great new music! I bought the CD in 2010 (namely on Friday) but didn’t have chance to listen to it until yesterday. So really it counts as a new discovery in 2011.

I bought this CD based merely on the description that hung next to it in the record store where I usually buy my CDs. The description said something like: a fusion of Sufjan Stevens and Andrew Bird. It couldn’t have been more right. The album is a very quiet album filled with folk-based piano-driven songs. It cobbles along like a stream in a forest on a murky afternoon. That’s what this album reminds me off.

The opening track Sideline immediately sets the mood as it starts gives a good introduction of Broderick’s voice as it is mostly just vocals for the majority of the song. Broderick’s voice has the right balance between tragedy and smoothness that perfectly fit the song. The tone set by the opening track is continued in the rest of this amazing album. Track 2 called Human Eyeballs on Toast, despite its weird title, sounds rather upbeat and has the same light and cheerful accompaniment of a piano as Sideline.  My favorite track must be track 3: Guilt’s Tune. With a quiet guitar in the background and Broderick’s minor featured quiet singing/ talking, this song is just pure perfection.

Overall, the songs sound simple, perhaps a little too simple. Yet that is the power of this album: the simplicity is what draws you in and keeps you listening. Tracks 4 & 6 are piano instrumentals and the final track Hello to Nils has some more guitar going on, as well as some more singing. Definitely not a very standard album, or your every day pop song, but it is just the right decor for these cold dark days.

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