Album: Heartleap

Artist: Vashti Bunyan

Label: Fat Cat

Release Date: October 07, 2014

Vashti Bunyan 10-7


If nothing else, it’s a credit to Vashti Bunyan’s perseverance that she still sets the trends rather than pursues them. Indeed, the woman that’s been dubbed the godmother of freak folk refuses to bow to modern mores in her pursuit of a celestial muse. With Heartleap — remarkably, only her third album in 44 years, following Just Another Diamond Day in 1970 and her long overdue comeback Lookaftering a full 35 years later in 2005 — she continues to expand on that mystical reputation seized upon by such prominent modern folk minstrels as Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom.

Indeed, one needs to be a thorough devotee to fully appreciate Bunyan’s wispy, willowy hymns and gentle nocturnal nuance. These are songs nearly devoid of hummable melodies, tunes best played in those hours between midnight and dawn, when reality seems slight, vision appears blurred and the world is hazy by perception. Bunyan conveys her thoughts with a whisper, and even the most immediate melodies — “Across the Water,” “Heartleap,” ”The Boy” — sound as if they’re being sung from a distance. The ethereal arrangements, devised by the diva herself, effectively enhance those shadowy designs. “I sigh with every breath I’m breathing,” Bunyan hums on “Holy Smoke,” offering the uninitiated the best description of her MO imaginable. Take heed.

DOWNLOAD: “Across the Water,” “Heartleap,” ”The Boy”

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