The opening track of an album has changed over the years. Twenty years ago, the opening track was never a single, because people consumed music differently-consuming whole albums over singles-where today that’s reversed. The opening track, whether it was twenty years ago or yesterday, says so much about the album itself. Haley Henderickx may not be a name you know, but the opening track “No Face” on this year’s I Need to Start a Garden is so much an introduction as it is an epiphany. One of our favorite releases of the year, the album is one of the most intimate and intriguing releases this year, and yet it’s all so beautifully painful sounding that it should bring emotions forward.
The beauty of Henderickx’ approach, is that in some ways it sounds like Elliott Smith, and at others it’s closer to nothing else at all. Her vocals are at times so emotionally charged that it could remind you of Aimee Mann or Julia Jacklin, though her style is so far and away from either. A track like the plucky acoustic notes of “The Bug Collector,” sink into your soul from the moments her vocals start, or the almost eight minute run time of “Worth It,” meander about and take their time getting to an end that you never really wish for.
There’s something magical to how Henderickx approaches a song, best showcased on “Show You a Body” with these bursts of piano that come and go between her voice that feels emotionally raw and alone in so many ways. The only song that comes close to anything you’ve heard recently would be “Oom Sha La La,” and even then, Henderickx makes the sound all her own, winning you over with each and every note she plays. I Need to Start a Garden is so much, it’s the time we’re in when art can be artful, and beautifully crafted songs can have just as much space as those written by a team of strangers.
You can stream I Need to Start a Garden on all platforms, you can find it in all digital store fronts, on Bandcamp and you can get it directly from Mama Bird Recording Co. Haley Henderickx will be on tour beginning November 2 at Sokol Auditorium in Omaha, Nebraska until December 7 at Le Port Franc in Sion, Switzerland. A complete list of her tour dates can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo by Alessandra Leimer.