Heather Woods Broderick – ‘Invitation’ album review

Heather Woods Broderick Invitation album 2019 review Sharon Van Etten

Photo credit: Whit Hassett

Heather Woods Broderick has released her latest album ‘Invitation’ via Western Vinyl. A member of Sharon Van Etten’s touring band, the album is full of poignant and powerful pieces of baroque pop.

‘A Stilling Wind’ opens the record with swaying vocals about being ‘thick with fear’ and a powerful build-up as Heather asks ‘How did you slow the tide and disappear so quickly?’ ‘I Try’ follows with its Tori Amos-esque piano introduction and observations on ‘darkness shivering through me’ and ‘rain coming in sideways’. It’s a stream of consciousness as Heather defiantly claims: ‘I try over and over again’. ‘Nightcrawler’ continues with this conversational tone and recalls some of Heather’s former band mate Sharon’s early material. There’s also a nice reference to Heather’s home state with the line ‘Travelling to the coast of Oregon’.

‘Where I Lay’ is a harmonious piece with an experimental edge and nature-themed wordplay: ‘In the flickering light, it found its way through the trees and passing scenery’, while the atmospheric and slow-burning ‘Slow Dazzle’ has stunning strings, echo effects and lyrics about hearts burning and white space – all wrapped up in delicate piano. ‘White Tail’ has a more tribal feeling and brings to mind both Tunng and Bat for Lashes as Heather asks: ‘What’s left behind?’ This dream pop sound continues with ‘Quicksand’, an emotional break-up song: ‘It’s been a few years and we should have something to say’; ‘we should have something to save’. There are Max Richter vibes running through the piano on ‘My Sunny One’, although these are soon joined by finger-picked strings and the title track closes the album in style, complete with beautiful birdsong.

You’d be a fool to turn down an invitation to listen to this extraordinary record.

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