Erin Durant's second album, Islands is an odyssey of sorts, with songs that blur the line between reality and fiction. Produced by TV On The Radio's Kyp Malone, the eight songs deliver clarity within mystery and adventure in their uncluttered vignettes.
"The New York-via-New Orleans songwriter recalls Joni circa For the Roses, or Joanna Newsom at her most freewheeling, on this lovely, shaggy piano ode to love lost," writes The Guardian. Stereogum writes she "makes breezy, romantic songs that boast the vocal effervescence of Regina Spektor with the rootsy introspection of Julie Byrne."
Born and raised in New Orleans, Durant has been based in New York for over a decade. She composes most songs on piano, songs that tend to unfold structurally like a memory or a scene from a movie. As a performer, Durant usually transports a 232-pound 3/4 size piano to venues without one. To hear her play the instrument makes plain her case for the extra effort. Her music is rooted in an ongoing dialogue between the physicality of her playing and the high, clear tone of her voice. Enmeshed with one another, it's a display of an artist in full possession of herself and vision.
Islands sprawls out in front of you, weaving disparate stories into an overarching narrative. Islands is a continuously shifting landscape, with a knowing nod to the inevitability of these shifts.
Durant's collaboration with Malone introduced an expansiveness in sound. She knew she wanted the songs to be fuller. They welcomed more instrumentation into the fold, including a complete rhythm section, the hum of pedal steel, and warm flourishes of brass and woodwinds. These are generous songs intended to breathe. They never fall into a grid. Instead, they pause and gallop, expand and contract, and pass through time unhurried.