Brooke Waggoner just released her new album, Sweven. Brooke has gradually become one of my favorite artists after her beautiful debut, Go Easy Little Doves, and the exhilarating followup, Originator – not to mention her thrilling 2012 live performance at Mountain Stage. So Sweven was definitely my most anticipated album of the new year. I’m happy to say it exceeds even my high expectations of this singularly spectacular artist.
This glorious album somehow manages to marry old-fashioned player piano jauntiness with a futuristic, spatial – as in outer space as well as scope – flow. Think Scott Joplin meets David Bowie.
Even such lofty points of reference are tenuous comparisons at best. Brooke Waggoner’s music continues to be extraordinarily original. Even when you think you have her unique sound pegged down, she throws something even more unexpected into the mix.
Brooke’s deft, playfully beautiful touch on piano is especially distinctive and bewitching in “Proof,” the album’s title track and the exquisite instrumental “Egg Shells.”
The gorgeous song “Fellow” redefines the critically-overused adjective haunting.
“Cherry-Pick” is a spoken word poem set to music. The poem and melody are Brooke’s, but the voice is that of an elderly man. Said man is a geriatric patient of Brooke’s husband, his recitation was recorded by iPhone and his haggard voice is not dissimilar to that of William S. Burroughs.
Other tracks like “Widow Maker” and “Pennies & Youth” have a different kind of unusual juxtaposition, one of catchy pop and dark strings that is reminiscent of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.”
If Brooke Waggoner’s Sweven is not my #1 album of 2016, it’s gonna be a mind-blowing year for music. It already is.
Brooke will return to Mountain Stage on February 14th.
Download a free, legal EP comprised of 3 mp3s from the album and 2 alternative tracks at Noisetrade.