A fine, final Holiday


Her Space Holiday

Her Space Holiday

Release Date: Aug 16, 11

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For fifteen years, Marc Bianchi has been putting out dreamy, orchestral-tinged indie pop under the Her Space Holiday moniker, and for the majority of that time has been successful in carving out a fringe niche among the elusive “twee-pop” subgenre. After all, what’s more twee than reassuring, bedtime-serene vocals with massive orchestral pomp? This might sound like grounds for an icepick into the ears for some, but Her Space’s seventh (and eponymous) record is euphorically hopeful, if a little bit repetitive.

It’s the little distinctions that set certain songs apart from an album that explores a similar sound throughout, that sound being the Polyphonic Spree without the suicide cult aesthetic. On “The Candle Jumped Over The Spoon,” Bianchi starts out with bathroom recording-quality vocals over a nearly lifeless acoustic guitar before a crescendo into something that, at least by this album’s standards, is rather cynical and even creepy. The closing waltz of “In the Time It Takes for the Lights to Change,” Bianchi lovingly cribs from Jon Brion’s scoring work on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for electronic flourishes that conjure something wistful, an appropriate closer if, as rumored, this is the last Her Space Holiday album.

Not everything is quite as successful. The hard part of being something like an indie-pop spiritual cousin to Andrew WK is that it’s hard to distinguish between most of the songs, when all follow a general formula of quiet opening -> cathartic burst of orchestral din -> cool down and on to the next one. “Shonanoka” almost resembles a Billy Joel song, down to the Italian pizzeria accordion. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but at least Joel’s voice has a certain command to it, and too frequently Bianchi is the least interesting thing going on at any given moment.

He’s not helped by pseudo-profound platitudes like “If the death of a writer brings life to his readers/What does that mean?/That I’m still breathing.” (from “Death of a Writer”) There’s a level of saccharine that becomes stifling, and Her Space Holiday is several paces ahead. That aside, this is a record coming from a place of relentless hope, and only the coldest among us could possibly begrudge that.