Album review: Laura Veirs, Warp and Weft (Bella Union)
Laura weaves her magic with painful and poignant tales
With Warp and Weft, Laura Veirs delivers her most satisfying set of songs since Carbon Glacier, but here, the arrangements devised by Veirs and her partner/producer Tucker Martine are so much more expansive and illuminating, creating a rich tapestry of ideas and idioms.
As ever, elemental matters are one of Veirs' main themes, particularly her keen apprehension of the seasons. "Sun Song" opens the album on a warm, throbbing pulse of acoustic guitar, pedal steel and viola, cut with icy shards of electric guitar, an evocative celebration of freedom from the chains of winter; and later, "Shape Shifter" contains an ambiguous regard for the onset of winter, and the fellowship required to see it through.
Veirs' natural empathy for community has if anything been focused by the anxieties of parenthood: "Dorothy of the Islands" incorporates the refrain from the blues standard "Motherless Children", while one of the most moving tracks here is "Sadako Folding Cranes", a heartbreaking account of a toddler's death from atom-bomb radiation. Set to plaintive mandolin against a swirling backdrop of cymbals and keyboard textures, it's made all the more poignant by Veirs' mid-song whistling solo: so simple, so pure, so innocent, yet so powerfully emotive.
In "America", she offers a more sardonic comment on the cruelty of conflict, wondering, "How can it be so cold out here in America? Everyone's packing heat here in America". As if in protest against such deadly societal tropes, she celebrates the work and dedication of outsider artists whose fascination with otherness lends strength and diversity to a community.
Set to suitably simple unison guitar and vocal melody, "Finster Saw the Angels" applauds the open-spirited attitude of the Rev Howard Finster, the naive artist best known for his cover to REM's Reckoning, while "That Alice" offers a potted biography of jazz harpist Alice Coltrane, Veirs claiming, "That Alice made a palace for us".
As if in confirmation, the album closes with the beautiful "White Cherry", a miasmic blend of harp, sax, piano and electric organ weightlessly borne on a Kind of Blue lilt.
Download: Sun Song; That Alice; Sadako Folding Cranes; White Cherry
film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Game of Thrones, season 5: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as he can keep his clothes on
Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
Game of Thrones really doesn't want Danny Dyer - EastEnders star rejected three times
Martin Scorsese 'in shock' after death on set of new film Silence
Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures