monoblogue music: “The Warming House” by Nehedar

I’m back after another hiatus from monoblogue music.

When I was sent the copy and description of the recently-released album “The Warming House” by New York-based artist Nehedar, I was told it was “hard to pin down.”

On that front, I definitely agree.

But Emilia Cataldo, who performs under the Nehedar moniker, has a way of doing many things well on her seventh and latest effort, just released Tuesday. From the opening horns of Is It Annoying to the rollicking closer The Ballad of Sadie Farrell – who, indeed, was a real person in 19th century New York – “The Warming House” makes a lot of twists and turns, driving off occasionally in unexpected directions.

After the somewhat soulful opening track I was expecting something in the same vein, but instead I was greeted with the bluegrass/country sound of Not Your Whipping Woman before hearing the Latin flair of Don’t Look. Three songs, three completely different vibes, with Come Into The Light making it four-for-four as an acoustic ballad.

That song seems to be one of the early picks for more commercial success as the first video released from the new set.

Jarring chord changes and an edgier sound punctuate the next song, Lashon Hara Barbie. This makes sense when you realize that, in her Jewish heritage, the term is loosely translated as “evil tongue” – hence the lyrics:

Sticks and stones may break my bones
but the things I say destroy me
I am not immune to loose lips sunk ships
I’m lashon hara barbie

While Come Into The Light got a video treatment, I think the best crossover potential comes from Flying, a midtempo song which features the horn section punctuating many of Nehedar’s songs as well as catchy harmonies.

The next three tunes, which include the title track, Watch The World Burn, and The Tree, come across as the three most conventional rock songs. But there are unusual quirks in these as well – listen to the bass line of The Warming House or the trumpet solo during Watch The World Burn and decide whether these push the songs beyond conventional. Everyone wants to put their signature on their music and it seems Nehedar uses the little touches to do this.

It’s not that the album is perfect – to me she sometimes tried too hard to be cute with the lyrics and I’m not crazy about the cover art – but after several bites of the apple, Nehedar could be poised for further success. She was obviously regarded well enough to crowdfund this effort, her first such album. As always, though, don’t just take my word for it – listen for yourself and judge.