Monday, April 1, 2019

Nearer To Thee: A Brief Review Of The New Album From Weyes Blood

Even though I really enjoyed the last Weyes Blood album from 2016, I wasn't quite prepared for how wonderful the new one was going to be. Titanic Rising, out on Friday via Sub Pop, is phenomenal, and the sort of record that one realizes is going to take the artist behind it to even greater levels of adulation and respect.

Opener "A Lot's Gonna Change" hits at the same sort of affecting beauty as "Is That All There Is?" by Peggy Lee, or "At Seventeen" by Janis Ian. It is also a lush bit of business, and immediate proof that Titanic Rising is going to be yet another in a long line of masterpieces from Natalie Mering (AKA Weyes Blood). "Andromeda" imagines the kind of thing Judy Collins used to be famous for, done up in more modern trappings, while the looping "Everyday" marries a hook like those that Rufus Wainwright tends to favor with washes of strings and backing vocals that send this into the stratosphere. If "Movies" is more diffuse, atmospherics here almost as important as the catchy melody, or the big Philip Glass-style break at the mid-point, "Something To Believe" is anthemic, the kind of thing Laura Nyro could have written and given to a big AM Radio band a few decades ago.

Mering makes this all work spectacularly, and one is sort of overwhelmed at points, like during the aching Gershwin lilt of "Picture Me Better" near the end of the record. Wisely, Weyes Blood holds back just enough so that there's a real tension in some of these compositions, even as many unleash themselves at points, like boats being pushed out onto rolling waves. To that end, the instrumental closer "Nearer To Thee", with its faint echo of the melody from opener "A Lot's Gonna Change", eases a listener down from the swoon-y heights of the best parts of Titanic Rising.

Titanic Rising is breathtaking in spots, and I really can't stress that enough. Natalie Mering here offers up the sort of thing that should make her a huge star in 2019, with all the accolades this album is surely going to earn being well-deserved in every way.

Titanic Rising is out on Friday via Sub Pop.

More details on Weyes Blood via the official Facebook page.

[Photo: Kathryn Vetter Miller]