Peter Broderick: Home
Softly spun melodies about a search for home
Peter Broderick is a musician who is a long way from home. Currently living in rural Galway, his folks hail from Searsmont, Maine, in the US, but most of his childhood was spent in Carlton, Oregon.
His mastery of so many instruments is no surprise considering both his parents and older brother and sister are all musicians. His own journey began by taking up the violin aged seven.
Prior to this record his output was primarily instrumental, either solo piano music or piano and string-based compositions. In doing so he displayed commendable restraint, a factor that also gives this far more ambitious recording a quietly seductive allure.
Broderick has the chops to do whatever he wants, but he chooses to tip-toe into the arena, unannounced, without fanfare. Listening back to those records they’re brimful of character and inventiveness. He stretches sounds in uncharacteristic and highly affecting ways. It feels like there are songs inside, itching to break out.
His collaboration with and participation in Efterklang’s tours of 2007 and 2008 was the spur to commit to setting the words free and switching from composition to songwriting. His way with words is matched by his ability with piano and strings.
Although he played violin on the tour, the songs on Home are written and played on acoustic guitar. The extent to which the record sounds different from every convention allbum is a measure of his knowledge of lesser known navigational routes around the mixing desk. With subtlety and an exquisite touch, he makes the songs shimmer and shine.
The theme is the perfect subject matter for a man alone on the road: the search for a home. He couches these 10 singer-songwriter compositions in layers of softly spun melodies and echoing guitar. At the heart of them all is a yearning we all share and feel. The sedate loneliness at its core is beautifully offset by the intricate way the ghostly vocals are arranged.
The melancholy never jars or grates. Instead it is fuelled by a romantic hopefulness that puts us at ease. We are not alone. Home soon.