Brenda Xu – Overflow
Brenda Xu builds up “Overflow” in a gorgeous way, letting the restrained chamber pop come into a beautiful burst of color. For these are pieces that possess a sense of delicacy, letting the songs play, exploring ever more luxurious atmospheres. Throughout the album what truly ties things together is the carefully crafted, highly articulate vocals that adorn every song. At times Brenda Xu’s calm reassuring voice feels reminiscent of Vashti Bunyan’s eternal cool calm and steady delivery. Rhythms form with a naturalistic hue for they operate in gentle graceful ways.
The absolute essentials introduce the album on the vocal-led work of the title track “Overflow”. From here things move forward on the crystal clarity of “Officer”. Moving and with tasteful strings the song has a strong sense of self as it unfurls in a rather hopeful way, every layer interacting in a fantastic way. Easily the best piece on the album is the spirited work of “Lovely Storm”. Here Brenda Xu’s voice serves as a great comfort while the song builds itself into an ever-larger all-encompassing piece. Small details make a big difference from the gradual increase of intensity from the guitar work to the slightly faster and faster tempos, the song is masterful. Warmth radiates with the compassionate sound of “Real Sick Man”. Angelic in tone is the album closer, the bliss of “Just For Us”.
On “Overflow” Brenda Xu lets a sunny disposition flow into the remarkably intimate arrangements for they teem with life and goodwill.