The new Laura Veirs record, The Lookout, out tomorrow via Raven Marching Band, is the sort of release that both surprises and soothes. There's a lot of rich and artistic material here from the prolific singer-songwriter, and one gives thanks to whatever deity is watching over indie-pop that music like this is still being made.
From the bright, skittering rhythms of lead single "Everybody Needs You" and on to the rolling chords of "Watch Fire", a number with Sufjan Stevens, lots of what's here on The Lookout is superbly-realized art-folk, for lack of a better term. Veirs understands both how to construct a hook, as well as how to create texture, and that's darn important. "Lightning Rod", for instance, uses a loping rhythmic figure underneath vocals from Laura that makes the composition seem to recall songs from both Nanci Griffith and Jane Siberry. To name those other artists is to place this in some sort of context for newer fans such as myself. While some of this, like "Seven Falls", nods in the direction of past giants like Judee Sill, lots of other cuts here, namely the rich "Canyon", recall the more lyrical work of The Roches, for instance. There's even something vaguely Stones-y about "Mountains of the Moon", another highlight here.
For all her tremendous talent, Laura Veirs remains an artist who can control her gifts, as the material here is concise, and expertly-performed. The Lookout is so easy to enjoy, and so full of moments of grace and heart, that it stands as one of the best releases of this season.
The Lookout by Laura Veirs is out tomorrow via Raven Marching Band.
More details on Laura Veirs via her official website.
[Photo: Jason Quigley]