Laura Veirs - Found Light Music Album Reviews

Laura Veirs - Found Light Music Album Reviews
The Portland songwriter captures a mood of ordinary enchantment on her spacious and stirring 12th record.

Laura Veirs writes bookish, patient music that draws you in slowly and steadily, the images developing at the tantalizing pace of unshaken Polaroids. After 20 years, 11 albums, and numerous collaborations with Americana giants (Bill Frisell, Béla Fleck, Neko Case, k.d. lang, Sufjan Stevens), the quality of her latest record is less surprising than its immediacy. Found Light opener “Autumn Song” is instantly mesmerizing. Veirs’s vocal line, doubled by This Is the Kit’s Kate Stables, draws infinity signs inside a circle of pensive nylon strings, which then evaporate into harp-like layers as subdued basses and trombones fill in below, spreading the landscape under the sky. As “night stitches day,” “day stitches night,” and “thought stitches thought,” Veirs spins a lyrical cocoon around the precise mood of ordinary enchantment, dreamlike yet wide-awake, that can steal over a rainy Sunday spent measuring out your life with coffee spoons.

Some things haven’t changed: Veirs, who lives in Portland, synthesizes a magpie reading list (this time, the credits acknowledge Lynda Barry, John Keats, and Oregon Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani) into compact, allusive songs, her voice a strong, calm river where Pacific Northwest indie and contemporary Americana sail side by side. But everything else has changed. On her last record, My Echo, Veirs dealt with the end of her marriage to Tucker Martine, who produced it, as well as most of her other albums. Found Light is her first time co-producing and arranging her songs, and her first time recording her guitar and vocals together rather than in isolation, which perhaps accounts for the record’s intimate, holistic feeling. The impact of the life change cannot be overstated, but the impact of the process change should not be overlooked. In both cases, it seems, Veirs has more space to breathe, and she inhales it deeply.

The sound of Found Light is bright yet mysterious, part crystal and part smoke. Spindle-wound like British folk but frayed like Scandinavian jazz, the accompaniment adds veins of light and webs of shadow to Veirs’s hard, shining words. Like “Autumn Song,” “Ring Song” draws incisive details on revolving cycles of time and light. Throughout the record, Veirs tends the weedy patch between the archetypal and the specific until it blooms with exquisite turns like “I pawned my wedding ring at the Silver Lining/I felt sad; I also felt a weight go flying,” a feeling so real the melody sails away with it. The song is enriched but unladen by the spun gold of Shahzad Ismaily’s drums, bass, piano, and synthesizer. As the record’s co-producer, his gentle, open-ended sensibility is perceptible yet sympathetic.

These two rapt, billowy songs—along with others, like “Naked Hymn,” a sensuous ensemble piece with Charlotte Greve’s alto sax and Sam Amidon’s fiddle and banjo—are Found Light’s consistent but not exclusive highlights. There are also the times when the record eases toward the minimal electronics implicit in sparkling arrangements like these. Tawny analog synths eventually light up the snapping groove of “Signal” like a synaptic switchboard, while “Eucalyptus,” powered by a galloping electronic rhythm, seems like it might go full “Tom’s Diner” until it becomes a cathartic electro-acoustic rave instead. And there’s the invigorating crunch of “Seaside Haiku,” a rain-lashed rock song with a sublime ellipsis trembling in its center.

The occasional bluebird-embroidered country-folk tune pleasantly drifts by, but most often, Found Light is riveting, and even its plainer moments are essential to its narrative arc. Much of its power is derived from Veirs’s writing, a smoothly scrolling prosody of passing seasons, phasing moons, and streaming clouds; of slowing sundials and gleaming mirrors and dreamlike Aegean shores. It’s a world in which each thing burns with a particular scent, or a taste, or, most often, a color: blue flames, yellow coats, green kites, black flags, white roses, orange patterns on a wall. On the edge of this vibrant new world, Veirs names everything she feels and sees, with breakthrough frankness and the occasional whip-sting of vengeance, and it’s thrilling to share in that freedom with her.

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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.
Laura Veirs - Found Light Music Album Reviews Laura Veirs - Found Light Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, July 20, 2022 Rating: 5

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