Adult Lullabies is more an auditory scrapbook than a collection of songs that will put you to sleep.
Aubrey Haddard, the voice behind Au, has captured a series of specific moments from her life now softly recited through the warm fuzz of a harmonica bullet mic. The result? Listeners come away with a pang of nostalgia for moments we never lived.
We speed through these moments on tracks like “This,” which boasts a stream-of-consciousness style with lines that run into each other and complete each other. We can imagine the kitchen, soapy suds, and yellow rubber gloves as she sings “dances while I do the dishes.” Or, on “Dreaming,” as she sings about “painting shadows with your hands,” listeners can picture dark shapes.
The rawness of this first EP is captured in the same textured, soft way as Lianne La Havas’s Is Your Love Big Enough? or Margaret Glaspy’s If and When, both of which Haddard calls influences. The untouched bareness is a strength in an industry filled with often over-produced material, but at the same time, the stripped-down naïveté does make the EP does sound like a first. Adult Lullabies aches for added layers or backup singers on tracks like “Tory.”
The focused simplicity is understandable given Haddard’s multiple projects – including local soul outfit The New Review and R&B pop-rock group Breakfast for the Boys, among others. Adult Lullabies was a chance to explore a sound that falls outside the nature of her other bands. The collection of tunes flex the muscles Haddard doesn’t have a chance to use in her other, high-energy music, and it’s a resounding success.
But, if Au wants this project to take off – and it certainly deserves to – Adult Lullabies will need its own gritty “Forget” or “Is Your Love Big Enough?” to show those unfamiliar with her other work that she’s capable of more than softly sweet talking about maple and molasses.
- Warm recording and production
- Specific moments
- Could show her diverse capabilities