Peter Broderick – Colours of the Night (3 stars)

Peter Broderick – Colours of the Night

(Bella Union)

An album full of lovely cabin folk from the multi-instrumentalist

Accepting obscure invitations from Europeans has tended to pay off well for Peter Broderick, not least that time when he was 20 and Danish band Efterklang invited him to move to Copenhagen and join their band. Just like that.

Since then he’s ticked off Germany (Nils Frahm), the Netherlands (Machinefabriek) and Belgium (Chantal Acda) on his collaboration Grand Tour. So it follows that he took up the invitation to spend three weeks recording an album in a prominent Swiss hip hop producer’s basement in Lucerne with some local musician friends as backing.

This is the first time Broderick has not played all the instruments on one of his solo recordings, and the result is perhaps his most mainstream-sounding album to date – folky rather than experimental, and more allied with 2008’s Home than any of the neo-classical material he’s been associated with since.

Its penetrative emotional resonance and Broderick’s gorgeous, fragile-but-rich vocals, though, allow it to evade ordinariness. Echoes of Bonnie Prince Billy are very distinct, both in these respects and in the soft, unobtrusive instrumentation.

The opening third of the album, including the uplifting title track, feels like a warm hug. With the knowledge that it was recorded following Broderick’s recovery from a period of stress-related illness, it’s easy to be lulled into the sense that this is going to be a wholly positive journey of redemption and finding inner peace.

But then comes ‘Get On With Your Life’, a spooky track that seems to tackle head on the spectre of mental illness with both bitterness and vulnerability. It forms a moving triptych with the meditative a capella of ‘If I Sinned’ and the countryish ‘Our Best’, which builds to a glorious, heartfelt climax.

There’s a blip in the shape of an off-colour doo-wop interlude (‘One Way’) before those lovely, smooth guitars, some brass and Broderick’s precise, lilting vocals carry you all the way home.

Release Mon 27 Apr on Bella Union

Peter Broderick - Colours Of The Night (Satellite Version)