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Weyes Blood
The Innocents

Weyes Blood — The Innocents (October 21, 2014)

USA Flag Weyes Blood — The Innocents

Ψ   Haunted folky sounds from experimental multi–instrumentalist Natalie Mering.
Ψ   The Innocents je zemité melodrama z katakomb, které si zaslouží, aby bylo slyšet nad zemí. Weyes Blood gothic–kouzelná říše má tucet dalších dveří, které mají být otevřeny a je jen otázkou času, kdy toto album skončí ve vašich rukou.
Ψ   Její přínos k letošní bohaté úrodě nových singer–songwriters je velmi významný. Ψ   Natalie Mering stojí za to vyzvednout už jen kvůli “Bad Magic” samotné. Každé slovo vycházející z jejích úst v doprovodu její kytary, jak popisuje smrt, šílenství a melancholický únik, je pohlazením.
Styles: deceptive complexity, early music echoes, dawn, dusk, summer into winter 
Location: Kentucky ~ Bushwick, Brooklyn ~ Lower East Side, New York
Album release: October 21, 2014
Record Label: Mexican Summer
Duration:     44:33
01 Land of Broken Dreams     4:31 
02 Hang On     3:46 
03 Some Winters     6:15  
04 Summer     2:47 
05 Requiem for Forgiveness     4:30 
06 Ashes     5:27  
07 Bad Magic     5:55 
08 February Skies     4:45  
09 Montrose     2:58  
10 Bound to Earth     3:39
Others/Podobnost: Angel Olsen, Anne Briggs, Buffy Saint–Marie, Karen Dalton, Julia Holter, Joanna Newsom, Cate Le Bon, aroma of Parfume Genius, Seaven Teares, Vashti Bunyan. Kašlu na ta přirovnání. Kontext je důležitý a vzdálená historie je magnetická, ale Weyes Blood to ví a zpívá o tom všem. Kromě toho vytahuje odkazy staré hudby v krystalické čirosti, jinak toto vše jsou jen moje reflexivně–orientační pokusy. A teď jdu zpátky na Land of Broken Dreams.
Ψ   Al Carlson Engineer
Ψ   Shawn Brackbill Photography
Ψ   Jacob Brunner Drums
Ψ   Jordan Burgis Engineer
Ψ   Shane Butler Bass
Ψ   Jaie Gonzalez Engineer
Ψ   Evan Howard Hill Artwork
Ψ   Jeff Lipton Mastering
Ψ   Natalie Mering Composer, Engineer, Guitar, Mandolin, Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals, Vocoder
Ψ   Jackson Pollis Percussion
Ψ   Aynsley Powell Drums
Ψ   Britton Powell Bass
Ψ   Matthew Regula Synthesizer Engineer, Vocoder Programming
Ψ   Rusty Santos Mixing
Ψ   James Strong Bass

Review by Fred Thomas; Score: ****½
Ψ   Natalie Mering got her start playing basement shows and collaborating with noise bands like Nautical Almanac and Jackie–O Motherfucker, eventually twisting her vocals into harsh dissonance on early releases for her solo project Weyes Bhlud. Her proper debut, 2011’s The Outside Room (attributed to Weyes Blood and the Dark Juices) was a murky pastiche of medieval folk influence buried deep in textural ambience, with the two different sides of Mering’s muse competing for space and ultimately canceling each other out. Follow–up album The Innocents strikes the perfect balance between Mering’s courtly songwriting and twisted noise roots, switching out the buried feeling of The Outside Room for a clear, somber sound that finds Mering’s vocals and U.K. folk–inspired songwriting at the forefront. The songs at their strongest are dazzling. Upbeat single “Hang On” blends multiple tracks of harmony vocals with a dynamic, crystal–clear rhythm section, Mering’s voice echoing the same wistful longing as folk stalwarts like Anne Briggs and Buffy Sainte–Marie. The lonely mandolin strums on “Land of Broken Dreams” blur into a bedding of ghostly synth percussion and far–off backing vocals, keeping the song in clear view but adding tension with hints of the project’s noisier days. Standout track “Some Winters” follows suit, backing up a spare piano figure and mournful vocals with waves of tape manipulation and decaying delays. The effect can be somewhat jarring, but ultimately adds to the eeriness of an already heartbreakingly gorgeous song, taking its sentiment out of mere sadness and highlighting a very real feeling of danger and despair. The Innocents is not just a huge step up from the overly obscured tones of earlier Weyes Blood albums, but is also a triumph in terms of songwriting and atmosphere. The autumnal moods that Mering cultivates are on par with some of her brightest forerunners, with songs like “Ashes” and “Summer” blending melody and melancholy with all the gravity of Karen Dalton or Tim Buckley and “February Skies” holding all the strange mystery of acid folk masterpieces like Vashti Bunyan’s Just Another Diamond Day. It’s a stellar record, one that captivates both the heart and the imagination with an almost imperceptible grip, clutching the listener’s attention with its painstakingly beautiful construction and a sadness that is all–consuming but somehow warm and comforting.
Ψ   Some artists are best discovered on a whim, and Weyes Blood is one of them. Several years ago, while wandering down a side alley in Lisbon, I stopped at an unmarked record store and asked the owner for a recommendation, something that he was proud to own. He left the counter, walked to a section labelled “GOTHIC FOLK/ELECTRONICA,” and pulled out The Outside Room. One minute into “Romneydale”, I was grinning foolishly. Two minutes in, I was rifling through my wallet for cash. The voice coming out of the speakers was too haunting to walk away from. Now, three years after that debut LP dropped, Weyes Blood is back — and The Innocents lives up to the inescapably romantic hopes fans have held for her follow–up.
Ψ   Natalie Mering, aka Weyes Blood, has the articulate sangfroid of a songwriter on the rise. The ex–Jackie–O Motherfucker member and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti associate pens heavy emotional material built on isolation and conflict. Even with a Flannery O’Connor moniker and Capote–nodding album title, Weyes Blood isn’t looking to deceive. She’s learning how to construct songs that breathe with possession.
Ψ   Weyes Blood’s charm lies in the regal tones of her voice. She amps up that somber, deadpan delivery of Nico by letting her notes hum a little longer, verging on Angel Olsen’s style of warbling. All three are musicians who sing with a sense of detachment, but Mering also peers into the chasm of an emotional collapse after digging her feet deep into the ground. It’s a color–by–number tracklist that lets Weyes Blood’s antique sketches be filled in freely with our own emotions.
Ψ   While her debut album saw heavy use of reverb and drone, The Innocents cleans itself up with sparse piano and guitar, calling upon medieval folk in lieu of gypsy hypnotics. It begins tongue in cheek with perky mandolin before parting for “Hang On”, her summative single, and whisking up risky, moonlit narcotics. Stylistically, it fits the grandiose orchestrations of Julia Holter. On Mering’s own terms, though, it’s so much more. Creepy found footage audio, possibly of a fake murder, closes out “Montrose” before waves of waterlogged synths swallow it back up.
Ψ   The Innocents is worth picking up if only for “Bad Magic” alone. The slow pluck of Mering’s guitar cradles each word that leaves her mouth as she outlines death with insanity and melancholic escapism. Even the smoky gloom of “Requiem of Forgiveness” is eventually joined by a vocoder, bringing a renaissance touch to an otherwise terrifying track.
Ψ   Alongside Perfume Genius’ soft, perennial piano that conveys a young man’s spirit, Weyes Blood makes her contribution a hefty contender in this year’s undeniably rich pile of singer–songwriters. “Some Winters”, her piano ballad, delivers the heartbreak of a young woman seeking solace in choral harmonies and distant hieroglyphics.The Innocents is earthy melodrama for catacombs that deserves to be heard above ground. Weyes Blood’s gothic, magical realm has a dozen more doors to be opened on her sophomore LP. It’s just a matter of when the record ends up in your hands.
Essential tracks: “Bad Magic”, “Some Winters”, and “Hang On” :: http://consequenceofsound.net/          
By BEN ROYLANCE, Score: ****
Ψ   The gravitas, the seeming archaic ambiance of Weyes Blood’s new album does not originate in the (hypnotic, engaging, full) voice of Natalie Mering or some innate old–fashionedness, as one may be first inclined to guess. In an interview, Mering cites early music as an essential influence, mentioning in particular Bach’s ideal of the perfect fifth. Listening to The Innocents with this presence–of–history in mind, all doubts as to the “sincerity” of such old sounds fall into the realm of irrelevance.
And then the comparisons pour in. Something in her voice calls to mind Angel Olsen! Ψ   That guitar line echoes a Joanna Newsom harp line! The harmonies and design of this or that track are reminiscent of Julia Holter! Cate Le Bon sings from the same deep cave! The piano melancholia and brief electronic distortions of “Some Winters” carry with them the aroma of Perfume Genius! And on and on. Fuck those comparisons. Sweep them aside. Context is important and history is magnetic from afar, but Weyes Blood knows this and sings past it all. Aside from that pull toward early music’s crystalline starkness, these are all just knee–jerk attempts at situating oneself against a really visionary work.
Ψ   That awkward transition from verse to chorus in “Hang On” should never, never work, but the song is infinitely more compelling for that risk. Another risk: if a listener weren’t paying attention, she might miss the presence of the multitude of strange, often electronic artifacts swimming around the album’s rather earthy songs. “Land of Broken Dreams” hosts, quietly, behind its huge sweeps of regal melody, the drips, drops, taps, and bubbling–ups of a tidal id. These echoes might bring early dub experiments to mind were the song not so absolutely alien to that genre.
Ψ   The Innocents is not at all without easy–to–recognize sources of inspiration, but the songs, you idiots, the songs! If you think you’ve heard songs more successful at melodrama and heavy mood than “Bad Magic” or more successful at the naked, perennial mode of “pure beauty” than “Requiem For Forgiveness,” I want you to forget them, because you are kidding yourself.
Ψ   Would Bach be proud? Who cares? Heaven in music. Ψ   http://www.tinymixtapes.com/
James McCurry, Thursday, 11 September 2014; Score 7 Ψ  http://www.americana-uk.com/cd-reviews/item/weyes-blood-the-innocents
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Weyes-Blood/210391499001392

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The Innocents



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