There are a lot of singer-songwriters out here. It takes a lot to elevate one above the other, as far as I'm concerned. Or maybe I'm just more partial to actual bands? But I begrudingly enjoyed the new record from Bloomsday in spite of myself. Heart of the Artichoke isn't going to set the world on fire with rock-and-roll, but it's pleasant on its own very modest terms.

When Iris James Garrison sings "I saw God buying a dollar slice" in "Dollar Slice", a listener can hear an echo of Juliana Hatfield in the yearning vocals and funny imagery. The song, one of the real highlights here, is nimble and clever in its approach to the big questions. Even better is the Wilco-ish "Virtual Hug" near the start of the record.

Heart of the Artichoke benefits from the clean mixing of Henry Stoehr (Slow Pulp). The tunes are light, with Garrison's vocals couched in a warm mix. There's little here that's superfluous but the album has nice little flourishes throughout, with contributions from Maya Bon of Babehoven, among others, and I found myself liking this record a lot more than I expected to.

Heart of the Artichoke by Bloomsday is out now via Bayonet Records.

[Photo: Desdemona Dallas]