Don't want to break the 4th wall here but I can't really start reviewing this without mentioning the press release. While most artists fill them with wild claims ('Like the Sex Pistols fighting the Supremes in a sack whilst Beck looks on') , write-ups from the local press ('4/5 - Tewkesbury Advertiser') and shameless name-dropping ('once supported 18 Wheeler' on their 2001 comeback tour'). So to read Susi Stanglow AKA Haruko say, "I really hope you like them because... I am not totally satisfied. I wasn't able to do professional recordings, as you know, so I tried my best with the stuff I had. It was sometimes a little hard since its so cold in my room that i was freezing and there were always noises around so that I had to stop recording sometimes and the mic of my recorder is not so good and - oh my god, so many things" comes as a welcome change.
Which is all extremely heart-warming, but also a bit concerning when an artist starts apologising for the record before you've even heard it. To be honest she's fretting about nothing. The sounds a little rough but nothing your average Joanna Newsom fan couldn't handle. And if this record was pro-tooled to heck it'd be a crime anyway. And its a 'record' more than anything else. This a record of a girl in a room with an acoustic guitar and while once its stopped playing I'm not sure if I'll have any great urge to ever put it on again, it does a better job of evoking an atmosphere and a moment than any other album I can think of. There are 19 songs here, and each one is a sweet, sad nature-folk ditty. Whats impressive is how it never comes across as saccharine or wilfully twee and whimsical either. Its about as slight and fragile as you ever imagine a record being. I kind of want to give her a hug and tell her its going to be ok.