Friday, August 29, 2008

[225] Review: Theresa Andersson Hummingbird, Go! (Basin Street Records)

A violinist and singer-songwriter from New Orleans via Sweden, Theresa Andersson expands her folky sound into a rich sonic tapestry on Hummingbird, Go! By warbling over looped percussion and dense beds of sound, she taps into world music and electronica without losing the thread of the song. The opening track “Na Na Na” is the best example of this. Her voice weaves in and out of the thickets of beats, strings, and guitars. Those familiar with Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love or Iron and Wine’s The Shepherd’s Dog will find Andersson’s latest in line with their trajectories.

It’s not studio trickery alone that makes this album so delectable. “Hi-Low” is a faux-Hawaiian doo-wop number where she longingly pines for love “anywhere, anytime, any day, I don’t care what we do as long as we are two.” “Locusts Are Gossiping” opens with Andersson multi-tracked as a swooning choir set against a lone woodblock, evolving into an Indian cadence. “Minor Changes” has an orchestra in sympathy, but her dramatic sweep rises above the production.

I’m tempted to say it has Broadway musical written all over it, but I don’t wish to burden it with that baggage. Instead I will say this is highly orchestrated music from a dynamic artist with a strong vision, an adventurous spirit, and a delicate touch.

Essential tracks: “Minor Changes,” “Na Na Na,” “Hi-Low”

Recommended if you like: Kate Bush, Iron and Wine, great singers in an artful setting


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