The album features the stylistic guitar playing of WILCO's Jay Bennett on 3 tracks as well as several other Champaign-Urbana musicians. From the moment the drums fade up on "Fragile Flower," you will be hooked by the spacious and melodic undercurrents throughout the record.
I was personally struck by "Wedding Ring," a sort of country flavored song that showcases Bennett's--no, it's not pedal steel--guitar playing. Henry Frayne of Lanterna adds his trademark stereo guitar to "Hold My Heart," a dreamy song about not getting caught in someone else's affair. "Ignore You" is a very catchy, upbeat tune in 3/4 where Nuss really lets her vocal range loose at the end. Other tracks stand out, too, such as "Completely," a sort of slow-tempo laid back song that just seems to glide out effortlessly from the whole band. You have the feeling that Nuss is actually on the outside looking in, like when Alice drinks the potion that makes her loom larger than life.
"Child of God" is apparently influenced by some of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's short stories, and Nuss imagines her own death/afterlife, in which she is literally pushing up daisies. "Butterfly" follows on that theme, where Nuss explains why she wants to come back to life as a butterfly. I think you have to understand where Nuss is coming from to get the whole record. She has been heavily influenced by the natural world. Her cherished memories include playing in the forest behind her house as a child, working summers in a very liberal camp on the shores of Lake Michigan and early work as an environmentalist.
The whole album is filled with references to nature, and at times it seems as if she lives deep in the woods in some mystical place, not in the urban metropolis of New York. "Garden of Death" is a very moving reply to William Blake's famous poem "The Garden of Love," from his book Songs of Experience. Here, it sounds as if Nuss is returning to the surface after being held under for a long time. "This Song" is an ode to her father, in which Nuss declares herself as separate from him, "When will you see/That I can be who I want to." Another line, "When will you know/That I have sewn my future," is a reference to how Nuss supports herself in New York - as an accessories designer. The liner notes only have the lyrics to half of the songs, so if you want to read all of the lyrics, you'll have to go to her webpage: www.littleleafrecords.com.
There is a surprise bonus track, "Heavy Heart," that is not listed on the CD. A great CD to listen to in the morning.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Fragile Flower
2. Ignore You
3. Wedding Ring
5. Hold My Heart
6. Child of God
8. Garden of Death
9. This Song
10. Dream Car
11. Hanging On
12. Heavy Heart