by Dylan Pennell (@dylan_pennell)
Over a year removed from her invigoratingly assured debut album Old Ghost, Brooklynite Renata Zeiguer is already back with a stopgap of a new EP, designed to abate the mouth-frothers anxiously awaiting another full-length release. Whereas Old Ghost expertly toed the line between tropicalia and crunchy art rock, this new release, deemed Faraway Business leans into the more whimsical aspects of her debut, replete with two covers and two demo-like re-recordings of tunes from her debut.
Despite the flotsam-like collection of disparate tunes assembled here, as Zeiguer insists and I can attest, there is connective thematic tissues here, both unifying this release and fittingly extended the threads begun on her debut. Beginning with a cover of Joao Gilberto’s “Chega de Saudade,” Zeiguer channels the very roots of her songwriting and style to offer this already classic bossa nova number into a scintillating consolidation of what makes her art so special: gently plucked guitar, the latin-tinge of her best songs, and over everything the alluring purr and power of her vocals, equal parts delicate and sensually empowered. In Zeiguer’s words the song is meant to convey “a melancholic longing and nostalgia for something that has passed or may never pass at all.” Conspiring in twain with the beautiful antique drum machine heard on this song, Zeiguer’s description couldn’t be more fitting, as the song finds itself plumbing her own musical geography for moment’s that have both passed and are still very present.
Seamlessly segueing into a heartbreaking and scathing kiss of a song, Willie Nelson’s “Permanently Lonely,” manages to retool Nelson’s lilting beaut into something more in line with Zeiguer’s own musical leanings, while still maintaining the heart and deep ache of the classic. As her delayed guitar plucks mold the contours of the song, twinkling keyboards saunter through, belying the coldness of the song’s heart and ultimately elbowing enough room for the spare-but-breathtaking strings that sneak in and out of the song, nearly unnoticed were it not for the single tear idling on my upper lip.
The EP ends with two warmly recorded and newly string-laden recordings of “Gravity” and “Wayside,” both of which serve to take a little bit of the snarl out of the originals, further servicing the cumulative effect of this EP: to dip a toe into the mellifluous backbone of Zeiguer’s creative process and the very impetus for her own creativity. Like a fan letter to her muses, loving revealed to her fans, or a transmission from the most achingly sincere corners of her creativity, Zeiguer continues to give us reasons to treasure her work and artistic prowess.