Symphonic alt-pop for thinkers.
The Weather Station creates some of the most curious alternative pop music out there. It is exceptionally rare for the music to ever reach for a pure hook, yet at all times it is melodic and symphonic. Then suddenly everything will converge into a powerful force that takes over your ears and blazes a wild trail on your soul.
The two opening tracks on ‘Ignorance’ are fantastic examples of this. Opener ‘Robber’ is a gorgeously full-bodied wine. The strings and woodwinds are on fire as they swell and mould around dynamic drums, piano frills and soft piano. It never follows a catchy direct hook though – it always pushes feelings and waves of emotions rather than going direct. It isn’t until the slightly more straightforward ‘Atlantic’ comes into its chorus that you get power chords and big catchy statements. The Weather Station makes sure that the verses throw you off though with fun twirling woodwind and unusual chord progressions. Even when she channels her best 90’s Sarah McLachlan on ‘Tried to Tell You’ and ‘Parking Lot’ the song makeup plays with breathy clashes and rich background string arrangements. It is a genuine joy to discover all the layers of sound.
I feel like I need to qualify my opening statement about having moments where everything comes together with a surge of power. ‘Loss’ has loads of great patterns, hooks and melodies but The Weather Station choose to often run them all separately without pulling them all together. It isn’t that the songs aren’t melodic or fantastic, they have a building cadence to them. ‘Separated’ for instance glides on light organs and then quickfire piano riffs and then warm strings. They just don’t combine forces until you reach that natural nadir. It is wonderfully sculpted so each song feels like its constantly evolving and by that I don’t mean ‘oh they’ve added a hi-hat this chorus’. The songs all feel organic.
A constant throughout is how The Weather Station (Tamara Lindeman) rarely raises her voice above her hushed but assured level. This works a treat for the bluesy and moody ballads of ‘Subdivisions’ and ‘Trust’ where things feel confidential. It also gives a chilled breezy vibe to the uptempo tracks too such as ‘Heart’ which could be a BBC radio 6 staples any day of the week. Either way, you’ll be carried away by how much expression Tamara can squeeze into a constant style of singing. Her lower register is silky smooth and her high pitch is effortlessly breathy. Never a growl was raised.
‘Ignorance’ is a Surfacing for the 2020s. Beautifully written, expertly recorded and full of life with its lush arrangements. All being worthy and right, The Weather Station should see this as a breakout album as it certainly deserves to be. In the meantime, get in early on this absolute alt-pop gem.
Recommended track: Atlantic
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