Haley Heynderickx – I Need to Start a Garden

The debut album from Portland-based songwriter Haley Heynderickx is, in a word, breathtaking

Album Review by Tony Inglis | 03 Apr 2018
Album title: I Need to Start a Garden
Artist: Haley Heynderickx
Label: Mama Bird
Release date: 30 Mar (UK/EU)

The garden of Haley Heynderickx’s debut album may be yet to sprout, but it's already teeming with life. It’s unclear if her horticultural endeavours have been as steep a challenge to surmount in reality as bringing this record to our ears – it took three attempts with three different producers before being finished. But it arrives a work of rich, elegant beauty.

All manner of beasties populate these songs, from the audible nocturnal chirping of crickets, to the magically personified, many-legged characters of The Bug Collector. They signify a sharp, busy mind; one unafraid, on Worth It, to defend her fierce independence ('I need you sometimes, but not all the time, no') and later deliver a savage dressing down to some 'boy' trying to 'put her in a box.' She breaches an earnestness akin to Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker, delivered via exquisite vocal takes.

The record opens as pastoral folk, but Heynderickx manages to subsequently weave warm horns and rockabilly freak outs throughout, such as in the raucous ending to Untitled God Song or the hoarse screams that close out old-fashioned ditty Oom Sha La La. On the former, Heynderickx breathes humanity into its deity, imagining her as a video game-playing, fake designer handbag-toting polylinguist, finding comfort in bringing a detached higher power down to earth, who remains no less awe-inspiring. This debut is equally as breathtaking.

Listen to: Worth It, Untitled God Song, Jo