wed 17/07/2024

Album: Weyes Blood - And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Weyes Blood - And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow

Album: Weyes Blood - And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow

Part Two of US musician's album trilogy gently holds its own

Ethereal and glowing

There’s been a quiet storm of critical approval building around Weyes Blood. American singer Natalie Mering has been releasing music for over a decade but, during the last two or three years a tailwind of positive verbiage has blown her faster forward.

Her last album, Titanic Rising, the first of a loose trilogy, of which this is the second part, made low level inroads to commercial success on both sides of the Atlantic. And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow, a fine balance of delicate singer-songwriter fare and something more baroque, has the potential to go further.

Imagine the strident, indie-orchestrated musicality of Marina Diamandis toned down to something more ambient, then infused with the considered fragility of Joni Mitchell; Weyes Blood is a bit like that. “Children of the Empire” is a fine example, the backing vocals almost Seventies M.O.R., strings, and even a mild stomp towards the end, jolly sounding, but also boasting opaque lyrics about change.

Some will be drawn towards the more self-consciously ethereal fare, cuts akin to ecclesiastical tone music, a style Weyes Blood has made her own, such as “God Turn Me Into a Flower” or “A Given Thing”. These seem to me rather watery predictable things. The best material, instead, has something of deconstructed country music about it, a faint ghost-presence of Emmylou Harris in songs such as the spooked road trip of “Grapevine” (“My car broke down in an old ghost town/Right around where they got James Dean”), reflective piano-led opener “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody”, and the echo-laden, ever-building strum of “The Worst is Done”.

The blippy drum machine wibble of “Twin Flame” also holds the interest. Weyes Blood’s music is not designed to grab the ear by force, though, but by soft, longing musicality and subtle lyrical substance. In this it does not always succeed, but the best songs have a gentle, thoughtful ease that’s persuasive.

Below: Watch the video for "It's Not Just Me, It's Everybody" by Weyes Blood

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