Saltbreakers

On Saltbreakers – Veirs was originally a geologist by trade – she maintains the momentum of her last effort. But this is a more polished and fuller sounding album.

On her last album, 2005’s Year Of Meteors, Seattle native Laura Veirs detailed an odd otherworld, combining intellectual introspection, stripped harmonies and smart wordplay.

She came across as nerdier than your average female singer-songwriter, too. Whereas more emotionally wrought members of her singer-songwriter sisterhood might scrawl their lyrics on a page torn from their ‘All Men Are Bastards’ diaries, Veirs would neatly scribble hers on the inside cover of an issue of New Scientist. What she lacked in sass, she made up for in smarts.

On Saltbreakers – Veirs was originally a geologist by trade – she maintains the momentum of her last effort. But this is a more polished and fuller sounding album.

Veirs’ sound is a fruitful blend of cleverly arranged acoustica and indie-rock; patinas of stings, horns and flutes reveal themselves after repeated listens. She isn’t afraid to choose a singalong chorus here to contrast with moments of solitary reflection elsewhere. ‘Don’t Lose Yourself’ has shimmering guitars and oddball keys in a spacey duet; ‘To The Country’, by contrast, is a meditative, serene exploration, with a Sufjan-esque backing vocal accompaniment. The rich vein of song-writing continues with the ethereal ‘Cast A Hook’ and the woozy solemnity of ‘Drink Deep’.

Veirs’ voice has a striking confidence: the lyrics are neither hushed nor rushed – they are proclaimed with intent. By eschewing the careworn vulnerability so favoured by many female artists, Veirs allows her remarkable songcraft and ornate use of language to shine. Saltbreakers is a delightful album.

 
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