Lelia Broussard’s “Masquerade” is an unassuming, bouncy, acoustic-based female singer/songwriter record that I unabashedly love — even though there’s absolutely nothing unique about it.
It’s an inversion of Adele’s “21”: While Adele is working hard to take the world by storm with her gravitas and emotive power, Broussard will soon be breezing through the indie scene with perkiness and wonder.
What’s tough to determine is why “Masquerade” works so much better than other offerings in this genre. There’s no standout element that punches her sound through the mediocre barrier to awesome; the songs as entire pieces are just incredible. The whole is much more than the sum of its parts. The closest comparison is Ingrid Michaelson (the two are similar vocally and instrumentally), but Michaelson has more of a eye toward the epic than than Broussard (see the glorious “You and I” for proof).
Nope, Broussard doesn’t even have an obligatory epic number here. There’s no “obviously playing to the crowd” acoustic guitar solo track, either. This is a straight-up collection of excellent tunes with trends ignored, thank you very much. “Heart Collectors” is a haunting song, showcasing her arrangement skills; the title track is a bouncy tune that is cute in the same way She and Him is cute, but without the vintage aspects. “Satellite” has clapping involved, so you know it’s good. “Shoot for the Moon” is just solid all around, featuring some great keyboard contributions.
The only clunker on the whole disc is the bitter closer, “Hipster Bitch.” It doesn’t fit her vibe, lyrically or musically, as it’s downright angry. But since it’s last, I just stop listening at track nine.
If you like Michaelson, old-school Regina Spektor or indie singer/songwriters of that ilk, “Masquerade” will steal your heart away. Be prepared for that.