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The Weather Station - Ignorance Music Album Reviews

The Weather Station - Ignorance Music Album Reviews
Tamara Lindeman’s songwriting has reached stunning new heights. With a full band supporting her, her new album draws upon the natural world to create unforgettable moments of calm and beauty.

Because her lyrics are often the focus, and because the accompanying music could most succinctly be described as “folk,” Tamara Lindeman has a singing voice that is easy to overlook. But it is where much of her power lies. The 36-year-old songwriter and former child actress from Toronto is not the kind of singer who demands your attention but the type who doesn’t seem to care whether you’re listening at all: Dipping between her hushed lower register and a breezy falsetto, her delivery flows as an internal monologue. By listening closely, you are sharing her headspace, invited into a private world. Her songs are anthems for those of us accustomed to spending long stretches of time in silence, or being asked repeatedly “What are you thinking about?”
This introverted style has suited Lindeman’s work as the Weather Station, a project that has evolved over the past decade from sparse solo recordings into an ambitious full band with frequent string accompaniment. In a pivotal song called “Thirty” from 2017’s self-titled album, Lindeman fully assumed the role of bandleader. Without sacrificing the acute, observational detail of her early work, it felt like a breakthrough. Her voice became impossible to ignore. “I noticed fucking everything—the light, the reflections, different languages, your expressions,” she sang with desperate anxiety, as if speeding through her usual landmarks to set a foothold somewhere new.

On Ignorance, the Weather Station’s dazzling fifth album, Lindeman arrives. The sound of her band—which now includes two drummers, a saxophonist, and a watercolor smear of synth, strings, flute, bass, and electric guitar—has never felt more versatile or distinctive, like an array of set pieces she rearranges to accompany each individual story. She sets the scene with “Robber,” the creeping, jazzy opener whose lyrics unveil a stirring metaphor about the failures of capitalism. As the band leans in conspiratorially, responding to each subtle shift in her delivery, Lindeman shapeshifts from consoler (“No, the robber don’t hate you”) to confessor (“When I was young, I learned how to make love to the robber”) to a strange kind of preacher (“Hold open the gates for the want of lust”). It is a whirlwind performance. As the music skitters and bursts in every direction, she never loses her cool.

Co-produced with Marcus Paquin, Ignorance reimagines Lindeman’s place within her own music and the scope of her project as a whole. Every moment feels lush and welcoming, designed to reach as many people as possible. Ironically, Lindeman wrote many of the songs alone with just an old keyboard, playing along to its rudimentary drum loops. In some songs, like “Separated,” you can hear their humble beginnings: the deft, ambling rhythm of her fingerpicking is replaced with pulsing major chords; her lyrics, which once spilled into the margins with asides and scene directions, arrive in pared-down cycles of verse, swapping a few words while maintaining the general structure: “Separated by the relief you want to feel,” she sings, shortly followed by, “Separated by the belief this cut would heal.”

Lindeman has hinted at these pop ambitions before—her 2017 single “Kept It All to Myself” felt like a first step in this direction—but she has never embraced the sound so fully. After operating within the ’70s idiom of singer-songwriter music, she now looks to the carefully constructed art-pop of the ’80s for inspiration, finding a balance that feels both intuitive and daring. In a late-album highlight called “Heart,” she sings over an aerodynamic rhythm, her falsetto swooping between each substratum of percussion like a small bird navigating the floors of a mansion. It is a rare moment in her songbook where you can tune out the lyrics and just get lost in the music. In fact, Lindeman herself does precisely that in the final moments, humming a wordless refrain as her band glides along.

This is a new trick at Lindeman’s disposal—these appeals to the instant pleasure centers of rhythm and melody—and she can break the spell just as effectively as she casts it. “I tried to wear the world like some kind of garment,” she sings starkly in “Wear,” the first moment on the album where her voice sounds truly unaccompanied, with a ticking drumbeat and high, dissonant piano chord dissolving beneath it. In songs like these, she accesses the same vulnerability that coursed through early albums like Loyalty. Only now, the quiet arrives more sporadically: dusky, old hiding places she leads us through on an otherwise colorful journey.

In the time since the Weather Station’s last album, Lindeman devoted herself to studying the climate crisis, attending town halls and leading panel discussions with fellow musicians and activists in Toronto. In a 2019 interview, she explained the similarities between these conversations and her work as a songwriter: The same way she noticed how her subtle, uncluttered music about intimate subjects could have a therapeutic effect on listeners, she sought to address what’s known as “climate grief” with a sense of compassion, discussing the severity of the facts without ignoring the emotional weight.

Throughout Ignorance, she suggests the first step is rejecting cynicism. It is a goal she shares with Weyes Blood’s Natalie Mering, whose 2019 album Titanic Rising found beauty in similarly heavy subject matter. But where Mering’s approach involved zooming out to address our problems on a cosmic scale, Lindeman takes the opposite perspective, burrowing into quiet scenes and passing feelings until they seem to hold universal significance. Plenty of us, for example, may have thoughts like the ones in “Atlantic” (“I should get all this dying off of my mind/I should know better than to read the headlines”). But generational exhaustion is not the point. Instead, Lindeman paints an idyllic portrait, full of wonder, with a glass of wine in her hand: “My god,” go the opening lines. “I thought, ‘What a sunset.’”

As if leading a guided meditation, Lindeman continually turns our focus to the natural world—but her findings aren’t always so picturesque. She has referred to “Parking Lot” as a “love song for a bird,” and, for the most part, that’s what it is. Standing outside a venue before a show, and on the verge of what sounds like a minor breakdown, she notices a small bird flying around the parking lot. And so she stops to admire it. “Is it alright if I don’t want to sing tonight?” she asks, as if sensing an omen. There’s a metaphor here: the helplessness, the aimlessness, the clash between subject and setting, the quiet singing against the droning traffic. Lindeman has spent her career pondering these connections, pausing in the moments when other people are restlessly pushing forward. Her writing throughout Ignorance can feel like the collected epiphanies from a lifetime of observing.

And sometimes, language fails her. In the last 90 seconds of the song, she gets hung up on the opening words of a sentence: “It kills me when I....” The band anticipates a climax: A string section summons a “Cloudbusting” sense of drama; a disco beat dances from hi-hat to snare with increasing intensity. I swear I hear a choir buried in the mix. Meanwhile, Lindeman takes another stab at the thought: “You know it just kills me when I…” Eventually, she finishes the sentence. Her mind returns to the bird, the band settles down, and life, as we know it, goes on: its constant hum of worry, a sea of cars, another show to play. But for that moment, it was all up in the air.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
The Weather Station - Ignorance Music Album Reviews The Weather Station - Ignorance Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, February 12, 2021 Rating: 5

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