Insightful folk rock on a love now lived.
Eleven albums in and Laura Veirs has well and truly solidified herself into her much under-appreciated space in the world of folk-rock. ‘My Echo’ is an extremely concise album that chronicles moments of escapism and resilience during the time of divorce. In a year where everything takes on a new meaning, you can extend these personal views into a view of surviving the world’s trauma too.
There is beauty in catharsis and that is where Laura Veirs works best. Her effortlessly wispy vocals and mesh of guitars, keyboards and country tweaks on folk-rock flow in a way that reminds of Tanya Donnelly. She too is another singer-songwriter who is an expert at weaving seemingly untraditional emotions out of traditional rock songs. Laura does is gently and trims all the fat away. For example, the rousing tongue in week eye roll at self-doubt that is ‘Turquoise Walls’ barely covers two and half minutes and yet it feels focused, razor-sharp in delivery and not wanting for anything.
The twang of a country guitar is present throughout in a warm and homely vibe. ‘Memaloose Island’ is wistful and cute as Laura sings about being thankful for survival. Elsewhere cinematic strings puncture the rock in opener ‘Freedom Falling’ as if to audibly signal the breaking of love. These strings return for the stunning ‘Burn Too Bright’ later in the album as if they are emotional beats in the breakup. These tracks also showcase how Veirs can convey so much with the gentlest of sighs in her voice.
Perhaps the best way Laura conveys her thoughts lyrically is in the track ‘End Times’. A piano and vocal ballad with an Asian blues tinge, she sings about how when the world ends, she’ll think of her ex. It is a song and an album about embracing what has been lost but also not throwing the good years and times out with the bathwater either. It is an important message you don’t often hear in music. There is no Vulnicura purge – just a chronicle of thoughts and feelings and they’ll be a mix.
Those looking for Laura’s more rootsy side will find those tracks towards the end of the album with ‘Brick Layer’ and the dreamy ‘All The Things’ which airbrushes lush guitar harmonics and distant backing vocals over idle guitar strumming. The album closes with the equally lush ballad ‘Vapor Trails’. ‘Your here for a moment and then your gone’ Laura sings and you get the feeling that after divorce, one of the things she has embraced most is to live life in the moment. Don’t drag the mud further than you need to – and the addition of duetting with a male vocalist Jim James also brings that union of divorce full circle again.
Insightful, moving, sedate and quietly confident, ‘My Echo’ is a surprisingly calm and thoughtful album on love lost without ever feeling trite or shallow. Fans of Veirs’ previous work will adore this and for new fans, ‘My Echo’ is a great place to start. Eleven albums in – Laura Veirs still has plenty to say.
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