Laura Veirs – July Flame (Bella Union/Shock) CD Review

I know this has been out for months, but somehow I never got around to waxing effusive about this, an album that edges its way into your subconscious over time and assumes a place in the automatic sweet spot stakes.

Her previous work left me underwhelmed, and July Flame doesn’t overwhelm, but that’s not the point. Sure, she’s pretty anchored by conventional verse-chorus-verse structures, but what she does do that makes it sound fresh is imbue everything with a rich, slightly arty sonic picture of fingerpicked guitars, occasional oddball choirs, bucolic viola, reedy harmonium.

In short, there’s an air of Winter melancholy about this record, but also a kind of contentment that makes it about as comfy as sitting by a log fire with a cat on your lap. She has a little of Joanna Newsom’s intellectual earth angel about her, but it’s much less eccentric, and her voice won’t ruffle any feathers.

Over the course of July Flame, Veirs veers from country-tinged folk to Beach Boys Holland-era pop opera to a sound that has Celtic overtones. It’s just a little bit special. GARY STEEL

Sound = 4

Music = 4

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