A return to her DIY roots following 2008’s studio-slick (but awfully good) How to Walk Away, Peace & Love finds Juliana Hatfield at her most vulnerable and intimate. The album impresses most for its technical accomplishment, with Hatfield not only writing and singing, but performing all of the instruments, producing, and engineering the album herself, giving the project an authentic, lived-in vibe that plays to her strengths. Whether exploring her complicated relationship with Evan Dando on the pensive “Evan” or confronting her status as an erstwhile It Girl on the harmonica drenched “Dear Anonymous,” on which she gives herself credit for surviving “the famous fall” from fame, Hatfield is at her best when she’s in full-on confessional mode. The straightforward, lo-fi production, with most songs given simple acoustic arrangements, keeps the focus squarely on Hatfield and her sharp, of-the-moment perspective on both personal and political matters. Standout cuts like “Faith in Our Friends” and the peppy, piano-driven “Why Can’t We Love Each Other” convey a certain wistfulness, a desire for a feeling of optimism that Hatfield can’t quite bring herself to embrace fully. If the album would benefit from more variety in its tempo and range, Peace & Love is, at the very least, a successful mood piece that proves how well maturity suits Hatfield.
- Release Date
- February 16, 2010
- Ye Olde
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