BROOKE WAGGONER > Heal for the Honey

Nashville indie darling Brooke Waggoner’s full-length proper Heal for the Honey embeds shimmering piano-based pop in ornate arrangements.

Videos by American Songwriter

[Rating: 3.5]

Nashville indie darling Brooke Waggoner‘s full-length proper Heal for the Honey embeds shimmering piano-based pop in ornate arrangements.

The cheapcore Mozart-folk of her previous release Fresh Pair of Eyes EP is still Waggoner‘s trademark-form. However on Heal for the Honey, Waggoner‘s wispy paper-thin alto is woven into richly produced chamber music.

One reason Nashvillians love Ms. Waggoner is that she’s frisky. Her jaunty melodies would fit comfortably in both the Tin Pan Alley songbook and an episode of Brothers & Sisters. Although Waggoner‘s purely pop, her Romantic classical form flips the script with a brimming tension, swirling arpeggios and symphonic instrumentation.

If you’ve been lucky enough to catch Waggoner ripping it up live, you know that her technical skill is just short of jaw-dropping.

By leaps and bounds, the 24-year-old stuffs triple-rhymes and tongue-twisters into syncopated soundscapes. And throughout Heal for the Honey, Waggoner‘s surgeon-like precision becomes its own form of fugue free-jazz.

Opening track, “Lungs Speed, Lungs Sped” builds upon a cascade of slurred notes and intricate string arrangements. Eventually, the music swells and blends into a something that on the surface sounds beyond Waggoner‘s range of control. It’s a moment of pop bliss. Elsewhere, Waggoner mines distorted synthesizer effects and spaced-out piano grooves on “Tender Mending,” an exercise best described as disco parlor music.

Lyrically, the record’s end finds Waggoner in traversed terrain, offering obliquely constructed God complexes best suited for an Eckhart Tolle self-help book. (“All day long, I heal for the honey,” she sings on the title track.)

It’s been said that urban bohemians will not respond to subtle Christendom in Ms. Waggoner‘s music. Ultimately, it’s their loss. Heal for the Honey proves that Waggoner is one of the most inventive artists to come through Nashville in years.


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