Home album review from Peter Broderick released through Bella Union.
For someone born as late as 1987, Peter Broderick shows an extraordinary maturity on 'Home', his first release for Bella Union. Having cut his bones on the road with Danish indie experimentalists EfterKlang and providing sessions for a selection of folksters, he has turned his attention inwards, and created a record that feels intimate and restrained.
Opener 'Games' is a wordless chorus of multi-tracked Peters aahing their way through harmonies. It sounds something like a track from Pet Sounds might if you stripped away everything except the backing vocal arrangement. No bad thing indeed. 'And it's alright' follows; the recollection of a pleasant evening on beach accompanied by plucked guitar which is eventually joined by drums, organ and backing vocals. On first listen, the song bears a striking stylistic resemblance to Jose Gonzalez, the double tracked male vocal hovering leisurely over the arpeggios of acoustic guitar baring an obvious similarity. This observation is true of the album as whole as this song sets the tone for the rest of the tracks here. Inevitably, the songs take on more of their own character as you return to them. It is not unfair, though, to say that originality is not a strength of this record. 'With the notes in my ears' for example, is nice enough, but musically bereft of anything to set it apart from any number of lo-fi indie folk artists. My feeling is that a little more experimentation with chord progressions, cadence and melody (which on the whole feel tried and tested) would yield satisfying results. On 'Below It', for example, by far the most engaging part of the song is the isolated bridge section at the end, which bursts into life with a harmonised vocal line that builds tension simply by fitting a few more syllables into the line, rather than relying on elongated vowel sounds.
This is a short record, and among the 10 tracks are more than a couple of instrumentals. They almost sound as if Broderick simply didn't get around to writing words for them, and there's not much for the listener to engage with. It is easy to drift away from this record, it occasionally crosses over from plaintive and restrained to drab mediocrity. Having said that, Peter Broderick is evidently extremely talented, with some development of his songwriting, which feels nascent, he will be able to create some very special music.