Label: Bella Union Release date: 06/09/10 Link: Myspace All music has a time and a place, and after much listening I have carefully figured out the perfect time and place for Peter Brodericks latest mini album How They Are. It's not at a social occasion where the music can be drowned out by other people. It's not music to be listened to during the noisy hubbub of the day full of distractions and interruptions. It's time and place is late at night, in the peace and quiet of a lonesome evening by oneself. On my first couple of listens to How They Are I was mightily disappointed, the music didn't work at all, it felt too light lacking any sort of impact musical, or emotion. Brodericks earlier work, such as the excellent Home did pack a punch. While not the most outgoing of music, it had layers of harmony that were easily and readily appreciated from the first listen. How They Are is a more withdrawn piece of work, if it's going to be appreciated, it needs to be given full attention. It feels made for those moments of quiet self reflection, with any other setting it is too easily lost. This is all very good and well, sure the album has it's time and place to be appreciated, it's own context to be listened in, but so does almost everything else. When given the spotlight to shine does How They Are.. shine? Well, Broderick still has a great voice, and since the albums sparse, his voice is the centre piece of the album. So in that sense the mini-album works pretty well, Broderick voice flows over light piano or guitar music and it's all very pleasant and lovely. Nice (if unspectacular lyrics) over the sparest of backing music. In Brodericks previous work loops were used to high effect to create layered and interesting sounds, his other albums also had other people playing on them, so How They Are is a small change in that it's just him. Piano or guitar, with no layering. It's as sparse, and intimate as it could possibly be. It does run the risk of occasionally being a little boring in it's lack of variety, and genuine musical interest. The album is held up by some highly competent wordsmithery, and a very nice voice. It feels a little light and flimsy, but maybe that's part of it's charm. Aside from that it's a lovely and enjoyable piece of work to wash over you at 2AM, but unspectacular. Photobucket