Personnel: Brooke Waggoner (vocals, piano, Fender Rhodes piano, synthesizer); Philip Waggoner (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Zach Casebolt, David Davidson (violin); Betsy Lamb (viola); Matt Slocum (cello); Jack Jezzro (double bass); Juan Solarzano (electric bass); Brad Odum (drums).
Recording information: 1927 Recording Studio; Big Light Studio; Bottom Bunk Studios; LMG Studios; Turquoise Noise.
Photographer: Jessi Arnold.
Sweven continues on the odd, misshapen path Brooke Waggoner began to explore on 2013's Originator. Waggoner isn't so much interested in the destination as she is in the journey and, consequently, Sweven can feel a little bit formless as it flits from schizoid rockers and twinkling instrumental interludes to fully formed orchestral pop. Clearly, some of these tracks are meant as nothing more than vehicles to set the mood, functional aural sketches that keep the album slightly off-kilter. As the record winds along, the settings turn expansive, relying on strings and double-tracked vocals, arrangements that suggest an ever-opening world while also functioning as a counterpoint to the album's frenetic beginning. If the two halves don't quite match exactly or if the songs deliberately evade instead of hook, the atmosphere remains alluring, as does the suggestion that Sweven is headed in directions Brooke Waggoner never intended to go. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine