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I Need to Start a Garden

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Review

Following a 2016 EP that was met with critical acclaim, particularly in her native Pacific Northwest, Portland-based singer/songwriter Haley Heynderickx makes her full-length debut two years later with I Need to Start a Garden. Counting folk musicians such as John Fahey, Jackson C. Frank, Leo Kottke, and Townes Van Zandt among her influences, she presents an idiosyncratic indie folk that combines familiar elements like warm melodies, deft fingerpicking, and mostly acoustic instrumentation with more unusual aspects. Those include sophisticated chords, alternate tunings, a trembly singing style, and a backing band that features a dedicated trombonist. Quirky lyrics that combine the playful and the heartfelt are another trait exemplified on "The Bug Collector." Described by Heynderickx as a love song about the member of a couple who deals with unwanted critters, its alliterative lyrics include lines like "I must make you the perfect morning/I try my best to scoop the slugger out the window." (Later, a praying mantis goes in a jam jar.) Her tender vocal delivery and lively yet delicate picking on the sweet albeit somewhat eerie tune is backed by intermittent trombone, percussion sound effects, light keyboards, and ethereal backing vocals. Like most of the album, it's intricate, slightly strange, and a likely earworm. Another notable characteristic of the album is its deliberate pace, even on the singalong-encouraging "Oom Sha La La," the source of the album's title, which is delivered with an impulsive shriek. In another surprising moment, Heynderickx rocks out on segments of the nearly-eight-minute "Worth It," though it all makes sense in context. The more poignant "No Face" is a spare ballad named for a character from the Japanese animated film Spirited Away. With eight tracks and a playing time of 30 minutes, it's an efficient debut without a weak song in the bunch, one noteworthy for its poise as well as its engaging eccentricity. ~ Marcy Donelson
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 No Face Haley Heynderickx 1:56
  3. 2 The Bug Collector Haley Heynderickx 3:44
  4. 3 Jo Haley Heynderickx 3:48
  5. 4 Worth It Haley Heynderickx 7:49
  6. 5 Show You a Body Haley Heynderickx 3:25
  7. 6 Untitled God Song Haley Heynderickx 3:42
  8. 7 Oom Sha La La Haley Heynderickx 2:54
  9. 8 Drinking Song Haley Heynderickx 3:14

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