Continuing my belated reviews of 2015 albums, remember Heather Woods Broderick? That cool and confident backup singer in Sharon Van Etten's touring band? Well, interesting thing: she released an album last year, Glider, to which I've only just now got around to listening. I put it off thinking it would be an album of singer-songwriter, folk-type tunes which might be a bore to sit through, but to my surprise, when I finally did give it a listen, I really liked it. This album is great!
But how to describe it? Ambient folk-dream? Orchestral soul-pop? According to Pitchfork, "From reverb-heavy piano ballads to grand orchestral compositions that weave in and out of audibility, she does a good job of building walls of sound that still maintain an intimate, bedroom-folk feel."
"It’s hard to know where Broderick lands as a musician and singer. Although a veteran of a close-knit folk-leaning scene her music isn’t particularly folksy even in an age of throwback singers like Jessica Pratt and Angel Olsen and re-inventors of the genre like Sylvan Esso or Hundred Waters. Her music could easily be of the blanket-label 'singer-songwriter' variety but song writing doesn’t seem of great importance to her, at least in the final results of her shrouded vocals. She might be onto a strain of dream-pop, at least one that ditches the synths for strings."
Despite great individual tracks like Wyoming, with Broderick doing her best Cocteau Twins impression, the sum of the tracks across the entire album is so much more rewarding than any one individual song, and I can tell this album is going to go into heavy rotation on my listening devices. My only regret is that I wish I had listened to this earlier.
In case you're wondering (I was), that's her grandmother on the album cover, a picture taken on her 80th birthday in LA. Broderick said that she felt the juxtaposition of light and dark in the photo seemed to match the mood of the album.