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Heather was Sharon Van Etten’s longtime collaborator and former band member.On Labyrinth, Heather Woods Broderick serves as our reflective host, subverting expectations of conventional songcraft with impressionistic language and quietly relentless explorations of the human experience that’s at once light and dark, more circular and less linear. “Many of us yearn for stillness and peace, as an escape from the movement all around us,” she explains when asked about the themes of the album. “Yet movement is perpetual, happening all the time on some level. It’s as wild as the wind, yet eternally predictable in its inevitability. It is linear in part, but infinite in its circuitry. Our lives just punctuate it.”
Broderick began crafting Labyrinth in March 2020, when most forms of movement were brought to a creeching halt. The Maine-born, Los Angeles-based songwriter who, in addition to her work as a solo musician, built a life playing and touring with acts such as Sharon Van Etten, Beth Orton, Damien Jurado, and Efterklang was suddenly forced off the road for the first time in her career. She used this disruption as an opportunity to pare down her creation process and construct the scaffolding for Labyrinth in her apartment. Employing only the most crucial tools at her disposal, Broderick found herself opening different artistic doors as she focused on sharpening her recording skills, capturing the majority of the album on her own before finishing the remainder with co-producer D. James Goodwin.
For all of Broderick’s sage lyricism and vocal authority, Labyrinth never provides the listener with any easy answers. If the image of the labyrinth represents the enormity of modern life and the difficulty of navigating it, Heather Woods Broderick provides a guide to its endless kinetic wonders of being present, aware, and
connected despite its disconnects. She describes the texture of its walls, its indifferent rhythms, and the inherent poeticism of feeling lost amid the dead-ends and unexpected turns. At this point in our history, perhaps that’s all we need to keep moving.
RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Julien Baker, Julia Jacklin, Weyes Blood.
01 As I Left
02 I Want To Go
04 Crashing Against The Sun
06 Wherever I Go
07 Tiny Receptors
08 Blood Run Through Me
09 Seemed A River
10 What Does Love Care