Highlights: Sun Song, America, Shape Shifter, That Alice
There is one particular moment on Laura Veirs’s new album that makes you realise you’re in the right place. It comes at the beginning of “That Alice”, after the classy initial blast of tastefully distorted guitars: Laura sings “Born in Detroit…”, and all the flaws and shortcomings can easily be forgotten. From start to finish, the song (a tribute to Alice Coltrane, jazz pianist and John Coltrane's second wife) is power-pop heaven at its most memorable and anthemic.
While Laura Veirs is all charms (she sounds that and she looks that), there is undeniable gutsiness, drive to her songs. Laura's songwriting is countrified, has some folk music influences, as well as a great deal of power pop sweetness. What’s lacking is some sort of mystery (read 'personality') that Neko Case (a good reference point; she also guests as a backing vocalist on a few of these songs) has in spades. And that is the reason why The Worse Things Get… is a triumph, and Warp & Weft is merely a very good album.
But very good is nothing to be ashamed of – especially when you open your album with a beautiful and wistful track like “Sun Song” and proceed with a lovely, unpretentious anthem called “America” (no less). There’s not an ounce of originality here, and I’m sure I’ve heard that particular female voice a million times already, but the thoughtfully lush production and genuinely good songs (some of which are more immediate, some are less – but all are winners) is what counts.
Well, if you are going to listen to albums that aren’t and will never be classics – it’d better be albums like Warp & Weft.