Heather Woods Broderick - Glider - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Heather Woods Broderick - Glider

by Hayden Harman Rating:7 Release Date:2015-07-10

Heather Woods Broderick’s second solo album, Glider, is comprised of tender, post-folk ballads that sound like they came from someone completely lost in their own world, almost as if that person were stuck in specific moment in time. The songs on Glider serve as entry points to that individual’s - whether it be Broderick’s or someone else’s - innermost thoughts. The sense of longing you feel throughout the album feels frozen in time, much like a photograph, which could help explain the album’s bold cover.

Broderick has been a member of Efterklang and Horse Feathers in addition to singing backup for songwriters Sharon Van Etten and Laura Gibson. She is also a talented multi-instrumentalist who plays cello, piano, guitar, and flute. This diversity of experience and musicianship is reflected in songs like 'Mama Shelter', which effortlessly switches from sounding like Angel Olsen at her most intimate to a smooth electro groove.

Broderick’s beautiful voice is front and center throughout the album. It sounds a little like Liz Harris-gone-pop (nevermind, that’s a real thing now), which you recognize most on the intimate piano ballad 'Fall Hard'. Some of her vocal runs on this song remind me of Elizabeth Fraser when she subtly explores other harmonic possibilities rather than singing the most basic of melodies, almost as if she is trying to break free of whatever memories and feelings are trapping her.

Seven years ago, Broderick released her debut album, From the Ground, which generally sounded as organic as its title would suggest. But Glider feels more intimate than her previous work. We are eavesdroping on half-conversations like “You came up suddenly/ then you were gone” on album opener 'Up in the Pine', and her quiet plea for space in 'A Call for Distance'.

On the standout track 'Wyoming', Broderick takes a cue from the kings of post-folk, Bon Iver, and sings to a place both literal and invented with a beautiful wall of guitars and backup vocals supporting her soaring lead. It is a song that evokes the golden age of dream-pop, but still sounds very contemporary.

Glider is a beautiful sounding album, and you can hear that Broderick has no shortage of ideas. But that is what keeps it from being a great album, as the songs suffer from the weight of ideas and contrived sounds (the muted trumpet on 'All for a Love' loses me everytime). To me, it sounds like an album that satisfies a very specific mood, and most other times it will come across as shallow.

Though it is not an record I plan on revisiting frequently, there could be a time when it really speaks to me, which will probably be when I feel stuck in moment and I can’t get out of it.

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