Perhaps it comes as no surprise that an artist from New York City cannot be contained within one genre, just like the Big Apple can’t be described in one word. A bit of folk, a bit of pop, a big of rock, a bit of punk, a bit of Americana, and a bit of electropop combine in various degrees to create Nehedar’s seventh album, The Warming House. No doubt the fact that she was exposed to a wide variety of cultural and musical influences as she was growing up inspired her to create richly layered songs that can’t but be described as original.
As the album opener, “Is It Annoying” seems to set the tone for a fluid and smooth album, what with opening horns, an upbeat yet calming rhythm, beautiful vocals, and the regular contribution of a simple flute. But one just has to pay attention to the lyrics to realize that this song is anything but calm; Nehedar describes it as an “unabashedly angry feminist song about wanting out of the gilded cage”. But while the frustration is clearly detectable, the track is less aggressive than what I would have expected. The guitar-driven “Not Your Whipping Woman” contains country and bluegrass elements which in themselves are well performed, but are a little confusing what with the setting of the album opener. Interestingly enough, it contains more angst than its “angry feminist” predecessor.
Yet again we are taken in another direction with the third track, as the beat, the horns, and the drums in “Don’t Look” give it a Latin feel. The album then seems to come to a pause in the calm of “Come Into the Light”, a slow and simple ballad featuring Nehedar and an acoustic guitar. It’s a touching song about her fear of becoming a mother without the support of her own. The album becomes edgy with “Loshon Hara Barbie”, a guitar- and drum-driven girl band, punk rock song that doesn’t quite deliver as Nehedar’s voice is too delicate to pull off this genre. But her voice is perfect for the following track, “Flying”, an uptempo, guitar-driven song that would make a great soundtrack to a movie scene featuring great friends joyously enjoying each other’s company.
I can’t help but wonder if the bittersweet, rock-inspired “The Warming House” was chosen as the title track contains because it seems to contain many of the elements found throughout the album, as well as reflecting best what seems to be Nehedar’s style: a dark outlook on life delivered with her sweet, almost crystalline voice. “Watch the World Burn” is another upbeat rock song that remains unique enough (and features a great trumpet solo) that I can’t bundle it with either the previous or the next track, “The Tree”, which is also most a rock-inspired song. “The Ballad of Sadie Farrell” closes out the album in a country-laden, boisterous fashion.
While each song seems to both belong to a different genre as well as contain elements from various genres, Nehedar’s album is consistent in the vocals and in the feeling one gets that she enjoyed writing and performing each of the 10 tracks on The Warming House. This provides an interesting glimpse into her psyche, which seems to be a strange combination of insightful, inspiration, and dark, and provides a listening experience different from albums that can easily be categorized.
The full album can be streamed on Bandcamp. More information is available on her website and her Facebook page.
Pictures provided by Independent Music Promotions.
First published here on Blogcritics.