Through a glass darkly
With a voice that steps deftly from breathy, jazz-influenced declarations of desire and hope (Jones, Don’t Leave Your Love..) to dark folk lamenting the loss of fallen friends (Story Bridge) to pulsing electronic reflections and dreamy dishevellment (Split-Screen, Life of the Party), Breckin sashays across borders of tone and genre.
Originally trained in classical violin, and an award-winning visual artist and poet, Breckin has now tied her creative affections to her sweetheart, an Aspen green Gretsch Electromatic and to composition.
Citing heroes and muses from the sweet picking of Tim Buckley to the howls of Diamanda Galas from Laurie Anderson to Karen Dalton and Dead Can Dance – Breckin wears her diverse musical influences on her sleeve yet is never derivative.
At once bruised and brilliant, her debut album, Shiner, illuminates and holds an oblique mirror to the perennial subject of love and loss. The title track, Shine, written while driving home along winding forest roads late at night, was penned for a dear friend who found herself unexpectedly alone with her new baby. The first in a series of songs that are equal parts elegy, sympathy card and therapy session, Shine speaks truth to what can remain after profound hurt – brilliance, a tempered strength, wisdom and tenderness.
The album avoids cliché or self-indulgence using bare moments from life as well as unexpected metaphor and wry humour to expose both the universality of heartbreak but also its singularity. A lover of literature and influenced lyrically by poets e.e.cummings, Ted Hughes, Anna Akhmatova and Kate Tempest, Breckin never allows herself easy or predictable paths to the heart of a song.
"I’m drawn to artists who can’t help but be their unique, strange selves.” She says, adding,
“I was a strange, morbid child myself - I collected holy cards of martyrs and was fascinated by all the horrible ways they had died. I also tried to collect road kill, but my parents put a stop to that”.
Despite dark leanings Breckin considers herself an optimist. “ If there was one defining trait, I would say mine is the triumph of hope over experience – I throw myself at life. I care a lot. I believe again and again that so much is possible, that love is possible – not just for myself but for human beings. That’s why I make art. Art prises open the cracks in our humanity – it reaches into the dark. It lets light in”