Less avant-garde than her work with Loren Mazzacane Connors, but transparently lovely, Finally marks the return of an eccentric and engaging songwriter.
Best known for her fragile, folk-centric 1980s work with experimental guitarist Loren Mazzacane Connors, Kath Bloom returns to music after a couple of decades with this modest, beautifully evocative collection of songs. "Come Here", the song that more or less relaunched her career when Richard Linklater included it on Before Sunrise, leads off, its warmth and tremulous, upper register melodies setting the stage for the 13 songs that follow. Bloom's voice is remarkably untouched by time, trilling and wobbling as she always has in the pursuit of emotional honesty. Still, experience has left a mark. She sounds like she's had three kids -- a little tired maybe but centered and forthright and focused on life's essentials. "You and I Keep Falling" is as gorgeous an evocation of long-term love as you're likely to hear, Bloom's voice twined over itself in limpid harmonies. "In School", is a bare and beautiful litany of things worth knowing, how to tie a square knot, when to leave your dad alone, how to mend a broken heart -- and worth the price of admission just to hear Bloom shy away from cursing ("I'm so um um sick of/ Sitting on my um um.") Her own guitar work is more straightforward than Connors' skewed and oddly tuned musings, but nicely supportive. "Finally, I find love and contentment/I can look at those around me without resentment" she sings on the disc's closing, title track, a hard-won insight encased in lovely, all-natural tones.