LAURA VEIRS – July Flame

Year of Meteors (the last truly great Laura Veirs album) was an interesting beast, a collection of spacey folk tunes that delighted in the vastness of their being; sure, Spelunking doesn’t seem like it would work as an earnest love ballad, but Veirs pulls it off – how many other current folk performers could get away with the line “If I took you down/to the caverns of my heart/would you light the lamp dear?” John Darnielle could (there’s nothing he can’t do, lyrically), but probably no one else. Bottom line: there’s something to be said about invoking things that are greater than us, and then using them to speak at to us at a very personal level. Year of Meteors did this on almost every song, and that’s what made it interesting. So what about July Flame, Veirs’ follow-up to the rather pedestrian 2007 release, Saltbreakers? Well, July Flame doesn’t operate on a cosmic level (it’s a very traditional folk record), but it’s every bit as vivid and emotionally striking as Year of Meteors, and though the two records have very different, distinct sounds.

All of the songs on July Flame sound as though they’re emanating from generations past; the most notable example would be Sleeper In The Valley, a song with a vaguely ominous air about it, and one that sounds as though it has haunted many a forest glen over the years. It’s the kind of song whose melody gets stuck deep within your consciousness, and you’ll have trouble getting it out (fortunately, that’s not something you’ll want to do in the near future). Most of the other songs strike as deeply here; the album opener, I Can See Your Tracks sounds as though it’s drifted across the land many times before winding up in your speakers. Same goes for Silo Song. Listening to July Flame, it sounds as though Veirs had discovered a long-dormant folk wellspring somewhere, and she’s now culling it for all its worth. Of course, the truth is that that isn’t the case. She’s just that talented as what she does.

If you’re looking for something to switch out that Nick Drake best-of for, or if you’re simply getting tired of the modernism of guys liked Conor Obrest, July Flame might be just what you need. This is easily one of Veirs’ best albums. so go grab, and get lost in it.

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One Response to “LAURA VEIRS – July Flame”

  1. […] of My Own isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t have much of an identity; Laura Veirs’ latest album runs circles around it. This isn’t to say that Basia Bulat is incapable of releasing an […]

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