Laura Viers | Warp & Weft
by Luke Barham
The last full length from Laura Viers was something of a detour. A children’s record which, while beautifully executed, unlikely satisfied many of her fans without kids. Now, with the release of Warp & Weft, business resumes as normal.
The ninth studio album from Viers since her 1999 self titled debut. It’s fair to assume this would be a fairly accomplished record and you wouldn’t be wrong. From the opening few bars of Sun Song you feel instantly in safe hands and float away in an Americana drift. Snares shuffle, pedal steel glides, an intimate acoustic is picked. All this backed by a warm bear hug of double bass. You’re at a Cali vineyard and it’s time to kick back. Even walking the streets of London with this in your headphones you can close your eyes and for a second be 5000 miles away.
Track two is most fittingly titled America which sums up the albums journey through the countries rich history of music. This particular track begins with a lightly distorted indie rock guitar riff, padded drums join the fold as we are further eased in to a record which is yet to break a sweat but keeps its audience captive. Finnister Saw The Angels is another sparse arrangement with simple picked electric guitars and an accompanying vocal harmony by Viers. The simplicity is quite disarming. The lyrics play further in to the continued theme of her homeland name checking many states along the way. The song closes with a delta blues bucking solo backed again by a lonesome pedal steel. Finely measured stuff.
Dorothy of the Island see’s the band pick up the pace adding further textures to the Americana meets Indie rock template. These songs are seemingly dispatched with ease. That Alice is the most rocking track on the record and you can’t help but focus on the story unfolding. Viers paints a vivid picture of Harpist Alice from Malibu. It’s a straight up tale free from over complicating metaphors, one for the daydreamers and features a great Neil Youngesque whammy solo. Perhaps the records most intriguing moment is the 1 minute 31 loop laden Ikaria which serves well as a pallet cleanser for the closing act. This is finely pieced together stuff and in a age of disposable iTunes purchases follows the old fashioned mould of a journey record. There isn’t an obvious single to pick from here, you are far better served digesting it as a whole. Further lush Americana arrangements wrap Ten Bridges in a neat parcel. The finale White Cherry sees the addition of harp and has a 3am, last man at the bar Jazz swing. A perfect end to drift out just as we drifted in.
Warp & Weft is the sound of an assured writer totally at ease with her craft. A perfect Viers record for new or passing fans. It may be her ninth album but will no doubt leave you hungry for more. Don’t be surprised to find yourself taking a trip to your local record shop in search of her back catalogue after falling for head over heels for this one.
Warp & Weft is released on Monday 26th August, via Bella Union.