Annie Lewandowski, the guiding force behind Powerdove, creates arresting chamber-folk into which is folded layers of dissonance and electronics. She wrote about half of the album in England and half in upstate New York and recorded it with a pair of improvising collaborators: John Dieterich of Deerhoof and Thomas Bonvalet of the French project L'Ocelle Mare.
Opening track "Fellow" sets the tone. The first sounds heard are those of piercing feedback, soon joined by a tinny, shallow stringed instrument strummed and plucked. Lewandowski comes in with a vocal that is part croon, part lament. "How long is the night," she sings, and the desolation is palpable. But, elsewhere, she sings musical haikus about love and the natural environment.
The effect throughout, especially on the best tracks—such as "All Along the Eaves," "Wandering Jew" and "Red Can of Paint"—is that of unfiltered experimentation. It's tough sometimes to tell which instruments are employed; keyboards are made to sound like guitars and guitars like percussion. Oscillations and bleeps surround Lewandowksi's voice, often sounding as if it were a songbird trapped in an industrial-music installation.
Some listeners may find the going a little challenging. But more traditional tunes might capture the attention of those who crave melody. Such is the case with "Love Walked In," and its charming, skipping rhythm, a gentle vocal and what sounds like a dulcimer.