Helena Deland: Goodnight Summerland (Chivi Chivi) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, December 1st, 2023  

Helena Deland

Goodnight Summerland

Chivi Chivi

Oct 12, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Helena Deland’s latest album, Goodnight Summerland, pivots from the experimental and cerebral work that preceded it to a heart forward rumination on loss and the cobbling together of memories. Though parts of Deland’s debut album, 2020’s Someone New, had an organic feel it also pushed boundaries that were developed even further with Deland’s collaboration with electronic musician Ouri on their Hildegard side project. A large portion of Goodnight Summerland is given over to songs written in the aftermath of the loss of Deland’s mother, Maria, in 2021.

The creaks, crackles, and breaths of everyday life populate the space around the songs here from the mournful opening notes of the instrumental “Moon Pith” on through to the album’s end. Stripped down and honest odes to her mother’s absence culminate in the beautiful pairing of “Who I Sound Like” and “Swimmer” near the end of the album. The former finds Deland in a near whisper over a gently plucked guitar clamoring for the unattainable: “I just want to talk to you today.” While “Swimmer” has a more nostalgic feel shot through with specifics either remembered or imagined from early childhood time spent in British Columbia.

Recalling her earlier work, the playfulness of the lilting melody of “Spring Bug,” mixed with Deland’s vocal skills in singing and speaking along with a sprinkling of unanticipated pauses, makes for a heady highlight. While the delicate arrangements of “Saying Something” and “The Animals” recall Sufjan Stevens, sans the irony, or something more on par with his label mate, Angelo DeAugustine. Although a painstakingly quiet album, empathetically produced by Sam Evian, Goodnight Summerland pulses with a low-key energy that speaks to the necessity of getting Deland’s thoughts down on tape. With a feel of pulling over for a moment’s respite in the ongoing rush of days, Deland’s next steps will no doubt be as welcome and unanticipated as what she has given us here. (www.helenadeland.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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