While the cynical listener will shudder to think of the unabashed happiness and joy contained on Heather Gruber’s Dance Into The Desert, the romantics listening will swoon at the Jason Mraz-esaque nature of the record. Gruber, who is certainly in a good mood on her release, makes no bones about how she’s feeling, employing an arsenal of bouncing arrangements and cheery ukulele placements to accentuate her point. And while Dance Into The Desert has its moments of reflections, it’s overall a classic feel-good release from an artists unafraid to broadcast her feelings.
Though often veering into happy-go-lucky territory, Gruber shines in moments when she is somber and more reserved. On “Lost My Halo,” Gruber takes a sharp turn from the rest of the record, most notably employing a low-key style of instrumentation that highlights her powerful vocals without overloading the track with the details of ecstasy. Still, it’s something else to hear Gruber fire off all cylinders into the sunshine that is “Let It Fly.” There is a remarkably infectious air of happiness when listening to Gruber, one that is perfectly captured from her vivacious young soul.
Dance Into The Desert, much like many other debuts, often follows the literal geographic journey of an artist (in this case, Gruber making the trek from Nashville to Los Angeles) as well as marking a positive entry into feel-good pop. Gruber certainly klnows what she’s doing and has the roadmap to cultivate a kind following of listeners. One can easily open their hearts for Gruber’s thoughtful music.