And then when everything is completely dark, in a metaphorical sense, hearts become flashlights. At least that’s what the title of the new album by Natalie Mering aka Weyes Blood says – loosely translated. Beautiful imagination. Of course, a heart like that doesn’t just shine like that. According to the artist, you first need the usual: compassion, one or two guardian angels, and of course love. batteries, so to speak. Which actually would have gotten you straight to what these songs are supposed to be.
But before that, a quick review. And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow is designed as the second part of an intertwined trilogy. So it’s worth revisiting the predecessor, “Titanic Rising” – a work about, among other things, the unsightly effects of technology on the mind and climate, and the question of whether dating is just another form of consumption today. The record cover that came with it was particularly impressive: you can see the southern Californian in her old children’s room, which was flooded to the ceiling with water. In the face of possible drowning, however, she makes a surprisingly relaxed impression. In fact, she even looks into the camera quite fearlessly.
The appropriate explanation is now on the current album: “We don’t have time anymore, to be afraid”, she sings there in the fantastic “Children of the Empire”. So no time for fear. time for action.
And before that, a short moment of shock: the 34-year-old first notes in the song “So much blood on our hands”, so a lot of blood on our hands – could be a comment on the blame for the man-made apocalypse. And then the salvation immediately: Acoustic guitar & co. don’t stop a minute later and for a few seconds there is only a sea of life-affirming beach boys-Vocal harmonies. A hopeful “everything’s pretty bad right now, but it’ll be fine” hides between the layers of these wonderful arrangements. Especially for lovers of early 70’s Laurel Canyon folk. Joni Mitchell, the master of combining feel-good melancholy and observant seriousness, is an unmistakable influence on Weyes Blood.
Contemporary realism and nostalgic escapism: it doesn’t get much better than that
However, the deadly serious topics on the new album are even more offensive in the foreground than on “Titanic Rising”. Mering sings about the disillusionment in the face of the chaotic changes in the world and that the worst is yet to come. The vintage pop accompaniment is again unobtrusive, warm, almost calming. A harp occasionally blows through the arrangements. Distinctive chord changes that don’t take much getting used to stand in her way. In addition, a voice that is beautiful in the absolutely classical sense.
The album sounds like it wants to whisper in your ear that the world is crumbling, only to immediately start comforting. Contemporary realism and nostalgic escapism, at the same time. You could never actually do much more than that.
The most interesting track, however, is one that deviates from the formula of the rest of the album – if only subtly. Instead of a hand-flattered retro drum kit, a programmed drum computer provides the rhythmic framework in “Twin Flame”, which brings a welcome change within the record. However, the song only becomes a highlight with its catchy chorus, which Weyes Blood sings exceptionally in her great falsetto voice: “You’re my twin flame, and you got me so cold, when you pull away”. You need batteries, like I said, but flames work too.