Weyes Blood - And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow (Sub Pop Records)

Weyes Blood – And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow (Sub Pop Records)

“Living in the wake of overwhelming changes. We’ve all become strangers. Even to ourselves”. Natalie Mering a.k.a Weyes Blood pours out her personal experience of the global Covid-19 disaster with the aim to connect with the recent tribulations of her listeners on 5th record And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow. In what Mering has previously described as “a dystopian romance novel”, the follow up to the ominous Titanic Rising displays a perspective on the epicentre of the Coronavirus era that is both heart-achingly vulnerable – discussing how it affected her romantic and social life – as well as being philosophically intellectual with myths and self-help theories. Produced like its predecessor alongside Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, lyrics are expressed by Natalie Mering’s invariably coherent harmonizing over her brand of ecclesiastical and arty piano folk, with touches of the cinematically unsettling.

With the use of violins and harp, the dreamy opening track ‘It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody‘ has a beginning that imagines the sun rising at the dawn of a new day. This latest era will have dramatic changes. However Weyes Blood reflects on the forming of universal empathy. With most experiencing loneliness and fragility, if there was one comfort that could be felt during the worst moments it was that everyone was sharing a similar anguish. “Has a time ever been more revealing. That the people are hurting. Oh, it’s not just me I guess it’s everybody. Yes, we all bleed the same way”.

The Worst Is Done‘, as the title suggests, takes place after the relaxing of lockdown rules, as Mering feels guilt: “I should’ve stayed with my family. I shouldn’t have stayed in my little place. In the world’s loneliest city”. While most are feeling a sense of relief, Mering sounds unnecessarily grim when providing the cliffhanger: “They say the worst is done. But I think it’s only just begun.” However, Weyes Blood is merely stating the unpredictability of what is around the corner and is helping us mentally prepare for it. Mering is a horrorphile and the song ends as if the embodiment of fearful fate – perhaps in the form of Freddy Kruger style villain – has dun-dun-dun shockingly reappeared from a supposed death. Instrumental interlude ‘In Holy Flux’ also has creepy ambience with its ghostly recycling of the opening track’s vocal loop.

Like ‘The Worst Is Done‘, the doo-woppy ‘Hearts Aglow‘, has Weyes Blood come to terms with the inevitable catastrophes that will orbit around her by accepting that you can’t always control the outcome but what you can dictate is your attitude towards it. When you snap a glow stick it emits a bright light – hence the album’s title – and as the world breaks she wants to dance in the sand, ride a Ferris wheel and perhaps eat some cotton candy.

Grapevine’ and ‘A Given Thing‘ discuss about love in the pandemic. The former – which has a nocturnal Bat For Lashes-style music video – details Natalie Mering’s break-up from a turbulent relationship. Set in an area of a California highway known as Grapevine, Mering was experiencing distressing symptoms of long Covid. Her boyfriend had a narcissistic personality and refused to believe her. Narcissism is notably a subject also covered on the bird-sounds filled ‘God Turned Me Into A Flower‘ but from the angle of the myth of Narcissus and how it applies to modern behaviour. On ‘Grapevine’ she coveys her victimized feeling by saying she felt small and kidnapped and uses car analogies to express her mental state (“My car broke down”) and their estrangement (“Now we’re just two cars passing by“).

Nevertheless, ‘A Given Thing’ climaxes the album with a positive thought. Natalie Mering theorizes: what if love can be easily accessed if needed, like free refills at a bar? “Flows out of you. Flows out of me too. And I can’t tell where you end. Oh and where I begin. Oh it’s a given, thing. Love everlasting” . It’s a wonderful thought and with Weyes Blood powerfully performing the song with a gospel vigour, this “dystopian romance novel” feels like it has a happy ending that we can all learn from.


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.