Peter Broderick Peter BroderickThese Walls Of Mine
“These Walls Of Mine” is most likely Peter Broderick's first album without a lyrical, aesthetic or conceptual leitmotiv. The man himself defines it as a summary of experiments and try-outs without order or a defined structure. That loose character, like a drawer full of ideas and interests, is one of the handicaps this project - intended to offer an unknown side to the singer, songwriter, producer and musician - has to deal with. The rap incursion of “These Walls Of Mine II”, oddly enough one of the best tracks here, is only a sample of what the Oregon artist is trying to do on this album, unfit for his most orthodox fans: this is not an easy to digest LP, nor is it the emotional shelter (whether it be in the form of crepuscular folk, modern classical or chamber pop) he has us accustomed to, but rather an irregular and uneven parenthesis, on which Broderick shows his most iconoclastic face.
The urge to experiment and try out can be heard in the orchestration of the lyrics: all of them have been written uniting, mixing and modifying phrases, comments, texts and mails Broderick has read over the past few months. From compliments or criticism from followers, to personal emails from his father and randomly found sentences. No need to search for sense or coherence is what he's singing or reciting in these songs, you just have to keep in mind that he wanted to break out of his comfort zone for once. Even on the musical side, Broderick shows no mercy for his fans, so what we're getting here is mostly experimental folk and art-pop. He doesn't approach his audience at any time, as if he were aware of the fact that “These Walls Of Mine” is a record he made for himself, and that the public has no say in any of it. But rather than elusive, the album is disperse and soulless.
And in fact, like any recording of which the main interest lies in finding an outlet for creative ideas that aren't always valid or functional, “These Walls Of Mine” is a disjointed LP that only works sometimes, and irregularly. “Freyr!”, vindicating late Johnny Cash; “I’ve Tried”, a delicious slice of ambient-pop halfway between The Blue Nile and Bon Iver; and the aforementioned “These Walls Of Mine II”, a kind of chamber rap, are three examples that explicitly illustrate the convincing part of the record. But, unfortunately, there are some darker areas as well, with moments when nothing interesting or even worth mentioning happens. That’s where “These Walls Of Mine” shows Broderick's least attractive side, and where it's most obvious that the LP is nothing but a lab for its maker to experiment and play around in.