Upon its release, Vashti Bunyan stated that her third album, Heartleap, would be the last of her fifty year recording career. As always with Bunyan, the arrangements are stripped back and elegant, although there’s more acoustic guitar on Heartleap than on her previous album. Bunyan made an effort to take more control of the album making process than before, and she contributes guitar and piano parts, as well as having the producer credit, saying that she wanted to “learn a way that would enable me to record the music that is in my head, by myself.”
Heartleap is pretty and fragile; Bunyan’s always been an artist who maintains a consistent mood on her albums, and I find that these individual songs stick in my mind less than on her previous projects. That’s not to say there aren’t distinctive songs – ‘Shell’ is delicate and beautiful, ‘Blue Shed’ has pretty piano work from Bunyan – but more than ever Heartleap works as a mood piece more than a collection of individual songs.
Heartleap is the least striking of Vashti Bunyan’s three albums, but any addition to her meagre discography is a treasure.