Album: Laura Veirs <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Year of Meteors, NONESUCH
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The Independent Culture

Though more obviously a collective effort than last year's towering Carbon Glacier, Laura Veirs' concerns remain typically elemental on Year of Meteors. The same fascination with water courses through songs such as "Lake Swimming", "Cool Water" and "Rialto", but her elemental metaphors are extended further here, down to the depths of the earth in "Spelunking"; up to the heavens in "Where Gravity is Dead". In the former, she wonders whether the "fish without eyes, and bats with their heads hanging down" that inhabit the "caverns of [her] heart" might put off her lover; while in the latter she contemplates "riding into the sun on a raft made for one". Only such rarefied talents as Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush and Björk have conveyed female emotions with the lyrical elegance and musicality of Veirs, whose scholarly mien clearly masks an avid heart. The arrangements, developed with the drummer/ producer Tucker Martine, blend her rippling acoustic guitar with subtle tremors of synthesiser, organ and electric piano, smears of viola and cello, jazzy drums and splinters of electric guitar, creating a grainy, patinated sound that matches the depth and mystery of her songs. An absorbing, brilliant work whose grip tightens with each hearing.