Heather Woods Broderick | From the Ground

Preservation (2009)
By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  November 17, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars

Let not the minimalist packaging of Heather Woods Broderick’s From the Ground mislead you into assuming it’s some sort of heady ambient work that you’ll get around to next time you’re cleaning — as happened to me. Although its centerpiece is indeed a nine-minute vista of sunlit viola drones and ambient airy pianos, the rest of this album is a brand of glimmering, glacier-slow vocal-orchestral folk that I’ll have a hard time associating with anyone else from now on.

Produced by her already critically fêted brother Peter (who along with Heather does time in Copenhagen’s Efterklang on tour and Portland’s Horse Feathers in the studio), and — bonus! — mastered by Italian composer Giuseppe Ielasi, From the Ground could be the year’s prettiest recording, drifting as it does between lush atmospherics (the Satie-meets-Yellow-House pianos of “Left”) and crisp intimacy ( “Turned,” a warm acoustic ballad that sounds close enough to touch).

Broderick’s voice — a sweet, laxly soulful wisp — is, rightly, the star, falling somewhere between a brightened Kristin Hersh and a Hope Sandoval rescued from her reverb chamber. There’s a soft insistence in her singing, a wise ease in her songs, and not a poor-sounding second on this stunning debut.

  Topics: CD Reviews , Kristin Hersh, Giuseppe Ielasi, Giuseppe Ielasi,  More more >
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