Laura Veirs “Found Light”

Bella Union, 2022

More Blood. More Tracks. Laura Veirs examines the fall out of divorce.

If 2020’s release ‘My Echo‘ was the album that saw Veirs document the move towards her divorce from Tucker Martine at the end of 2019, then ‘Found Light‘ can be seen as the coming to terms – coming to some terms anyway – with this huge change in her life.  The songs on ‘Found Light‘ move from one set of emotions – the strangeness of not having someone there who has been there for a long time, the feelings of loss as well as the relief of something that needed to end actually ending – to a new set of emotions as Veirs explores the possibilities of the single life and discovers new optimisms.  And all of this on an album with a sound that is more minimalist than we’ve heard from Veirs in….well, in a very long time.  The band warmth of albums like ‘Saltbreakers‘ and ‘July Flame‘ are mostly absent, in their place there’s competing melodic lines of acoustic guitar and piano, the latter often taking on a spikey angularity – ice crystals in place of that rich warm sound that peppers earlier recordings.  Also drawn into the sound is a more experimental use of electronic interjections.  In some ways ‘My Echo‘ feels like an older, wiser and less playful ‘Carbon Glacier‘.

The scene is set from the start by ‘Autumn Song‘ which over percussive guitar accompaniment talks of the passing of Summer, and the moving into a new season of life and Veirs  making “a list of ways to be free, of ways to let go / of ways to be loved, the things I now know.”  It’s, for all the seeming positive in adversity of the lyrics, a plaintive song. ‘Ring Song‘ continues that picture of mixed emotions “stars they fall and stars they rise / fading and growing / shine the day wild and the night / I’m here doomscrolling / I pawned my Wedding Ring.”  The punchier ‘Seaside Haiku‘ seems like a resolution of a stage –  a more definite switch to positivity, and with perhaps a sly aside to the listener who tries to extract too much from this music “I drop my glove and it rolls in the waves / I’ll give a lot but not too much away” as if to say “you can only have the surface of these scenes.”  It comes to a sudden halt, though, and recomences for a slow tempo bridge with the coffessional “I thought loneliness my lot it’s true / I walk the beach alone, I’m not blue / Blue is the sky and the firey flame / I’ve learnt from pain“.

‘The softly jazzy ‘My Lantern‘ sings of an inspiration, perhaps a new lover, with “diamond eyes” and who is “my lantern in the dark“, it eases forward as the sound of emotional healing.  Mixed emotions remain – out running in ‘Eucalyptus‘ Veirs passes such a tree and is reminded “of California / My life way before I knew ya” which leads to thoughts that “you crushed me / and those next to me who loved me, loved me.”  The emotional healing continues on ‘Time Will Show You‘ with a reshaping of the old saw “it’s gonna be ok, wait, time will show you” and inbetween Veirs passes through her own spiritual stages on the way to that eventual state of “ok“.  ‘T & O‘ is an aside in this emotional discussion to remind, over the gentlest of guitars, her children of their importance “sun beams of the house , you are the sunbeams of the house / don’t forget, don’t forget, don’t forget that I really love and I always will.”  No fudging there.

Found Light‘ is an honest album – accepting that statement that she won’t tell all – exploring Veirs’ emotional landscape, and if there’s sadness then there’s also enthusiasm for embracing the change that is demonstrated by a move in her sound as much as anything contained in the lyrics.  It’s unlikely to be the sound of anyone’s summer, but it is worth the journey for the emotional depth and Veirs’ continuing ability as a sharp songsmith.


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7/10
7/10

About Jonathan Aird 1983 Articles
Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?

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