Life has not been easy for Peter Broderick these past three years. The almost freakishly talented and prolific singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist has built his reputation through a number of high quality albums for Bella Union and Erased Tapes, enjoying his craft with the former as a purveyor of intimate songs and with the latter exploring more experimental, electronic sidelines with a modern classical flavour.
In the course of this abundant body of work, however, Broderick fell ill with a stress-related illness, a result of attempts to recreate the 2012 album http://www.itstartshear.com in the live environment. During the recovery process he was invited to Lucerne, Switzerland, where Colours Of The Night took shape as an unexpected live recording in the company of local musicians.
The resultant album is every bit as spontaneous and instinctive as the process suggests it should be, and Broderick – while occasionally referring to the struggles of the past years – comes through with commendable optimism. For that reason the album could not be more appropriately titled, the singer finding hope in the mantra of the title track, “all colours of the night, turning darkness into light”.
There are plenty of reasons to be cheerful despite the trials and tribulations. “They put a needle inside my spine, it took them so long to find it,” he reveals in the positive Get On With Your Love. As a close friendship / relationship is reignited, The Reconnection finds him confessing, “Wasn’t sure I’d feel the same fire”, although the breezy, hummed intro tells us all we need to know about his state of mind.
Perhaps the most obvious state of bliss is found in the mottled trumpet of More And More, a lovely song that finds the purity of being in love, albeit with a couple of insecurities. Broderick seems ready to embrace greater levels of humour, too, and on One Way he jousts playfully with an unnamed co-vocalist, while his percussion bag gets a good, Afro-tinged workout. Our Best continues the theme of willingness to branch out into other styles, and it seems leaving the instruments to others on this occasion gives Broderick greater freedom to express his vocals, done here with a bluesy tint.
Colours Of The Night, then, represents a moral victory for music in the face of adversity. Peter Broderick has clearly been in some dark places since we last heard from him, but here he is back on track – and for that we are abundantly grateful.