The haunting, Neil Young-ish opener, “Wolf at the Door” is underscored with a mournful pedal steel undertone, but the album revs up the funk on its title track. “Les orphelins,” the first bilingual track of the set, conjures French pop in the vein of Jacques Dutronc. Meanwhile, bookending the meat of the album, “Sister Moon” and “River Flow” come together as a pair of sibling tracks — not twins. Together, they give the entire collection a sense of equilibrium, and underscore Haller’s folk-indie cred. The next few tracks trickle on, until “Faconne abandonne,” a strong finisher, curiously followed by “Tripwire,” a strange, spoken-word addition tacked on for good measure. Perhaps it would have functioned better as a hidden track, but, as they say, c’est la vie.
Overall, House of Words is a solid offering from a folkie who obviously knows what he’s doing, channeling people like Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen and spinning it for a new generation. If he continues along the same path on which this album has set him, Haller will undoubtedly become a force to be reckoned with — geography be damned.