Laura Veirs - Warp and Weft (Bella Union)

Laura Veirs – Warp and Weft (Bella Union)


I don’t know if it’s because I left it on repeat for half a day as I pottered around my home, or that I was in a slightly vulnerable state of mind after a day without food and the mother of all migraines, but the two intense listens I originally gave Laura Veirs‘ new collection initially left me non-plussed – acoustic balladry unrecognisable from countless other nu-folk coffee shop chanteuses, or so I thought. But after some 5 hours worming its way into my brain, something remarkable happened and a whole new level of understanding of Veirs’ music came to light. Patience and thought is a virtue. As well as 6 strong neurofen.

The jazz and lo-fi Americana influences creep up on you as textures and layers build and the voice fades in and out like a psychedelic dream. It’s certainly a very grown-up album, sonically and thematically, and the listener is lulled into the voyeur/eavesdropper role on many a confessional uttering. Steel guitar, mandolin, strings and treated Spanish and acoustic guitars lend it an almost Velvet Underground feel circa ‘Oh Sweet Nuthin’ – we’re talking more Doug Yule ‘Loaded’ era than Lou Reed. ‘Sun Song’ astonishingly seems to rock out (very gently) whilst ‘White Cherry‘ is a virtual big-band number as re-imagined by Polly Harvey in a black feather boa.

Things get slightly MOR in ‘America and ‘That Alice’ but there’s a knowing nod within to her jazz influences and a deep, rich musical heritage that is at once engaging and sweet. The balance is redressed in Veirs’  eulogy to painter Howard Finster ‘Finster Saw the Angels’ which is a veritable thing of beauty and mystery.  Finster pioneered outsider art and was a preacher, also designing album covers for the likes of REM. In a way Finster sums up Veirs’ approach – spiritual, instinctive and with a rich folk-art heritage. You get the feeling he’d approve of ‘Warp and Weft’.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.