Also from a recent work experience placement.
Having spent a few years firing out increasingly nuanced and varied albums, Oregon wunderkind Peter Broderick’s knee surgery last year forced him to scale down his ambitions. The resultant mini-album moves away from his recent layered textures towards bare neo-classical arrangements for piano and guitar, which marry seamlessly to the hushed vocal style of his folkier fare. In the stilling, oh-so Bella Union opener, ‘Sideline’, his initially a cappella voice is joined by a beautifully sparse piano accompaniment. This is easily the highlight, although later songs happily echo the influence of Broderick’s friends and collaborators, including M. Ward (on ‘Guilt’s Tune’) and Nils Frahm (on ‘Pulling The Rain’). Often subdued, not every track on How They Are leaves a lasting impression, but Broderick can take solace from having written the best songs here. It might even turn out that the imposed shift in focus is just what the doctor ordered.