I put my arms around a memory
Weather Alive deliberately holds the listener at an arm's length. Its eight songs are slow-paced and languid, full of beauty, sure, but of the most reserved and subtle sort. English singer-songwriter Beth Orton's first record in six years leans on the ambient side of art pop, combining a warmly melancholic atmosphere with gorgeous, bluesy vocals and rich, nostalgic lyrics.
Singer-songwriter’s first album in six years is an engrossing listen and offers a soundtrack to the peaceful transition from summer to autumn As the sun sets on summer and the Autumn Equinox arrives, what better way to soundtrack this peaceful transition than with Beth Orton's suitably autumnal new record? Weather Alive's songs fuse warm, homely instrumentation with lyrics that often deal in memory, nostalgia and innocence lost. The album's title track sets the mood nicely, as layers of piano and guitar are filtered around psychedelically and Orton delivers her lyrics in a manner that borders on timid, as if in awe at her surroundings. The song is lengthy and contemplative, its structure unfurling in a natural, unshowy manner, and this is an approach that continues for much of the record.
Beth Orton has led a singular career. An artist who has skirted on the fringes of the mainstream – let's not forget how big 1996's 'Trailer Park' and 1999's 'Central Reservation' truly were – she's also been unafraid to take life at her own pace. 'Weather Alive' is the songwriter's first LP in six years, only her second since 2012, and it's the work of a glorious talent allowed to move unfettered, unimpeded by obstruction or obstacle; refulgent, beatific, and inspired, it's a record that ranks among her best, both in intent and execution.