Jane Weaver's ascent into the Actual Top 40 Album Charts is richly deserved. Her long, storied career involves everything from appearing in Badly Drawn Boy cover art to releases on Manchester Records, the cult imprint run by legendary New Order manager Rob Gretton. Her current vein of solo form, however, is undeniably the best of her career to date.
The chameleonic progression of Jane Weaver as an artist of considerable merit has been one of the most joyous facets in music's recent history. Having initially emerged in the early '90s with Manchester post punk outfit Kill Laura, Weaver has gone onto become one of the most important British artists of modern times. Never one to stand still or slip comatosely into any specific scene or genre, Weaver has furrowed her own path incredulously for the best part of two decades.
After some gentle flute exhalations, a two-note chime similar to the one that propels Deerhunter's distended epic Desire Lines loops to form the basis for Heartlow, the song that begins Jane Weaver's latest album. The song's narrator, applying the papery brittle delivery favoured by Broadcast's Trish Keenan, finds herself dejected, expecting a slightly louder response to her previous actions, stating, "I thought the bells would be ringing when I walked home". The video for the track was directed by Douglas Hart, the former bassist from The Jesus & Mary Chain, and shares that groups love of teenage melodrama & grinding wall of sound guitars and the narrator is one hundred percent right, she does deserve way more praise than she's gotten so far.
Perhaps the irrepressible hooks and rejoicefully juicy grooves that characterize Flock - best of which bring up vivid impressions of Funkadelic jamming with Tangerine Dream , or Prince developing a Hawkwind habit - are an inevitable development. 2015's The Silver Globe and 2017's Modern Kosmology stood out amongst a procession of Can and Neu! aficionados due to Weaver's blanket refusal to give in to the usual stoned noodling of artists who spend their disposable income on rare 1970's German vinyl and malfunctioning vintage kit. Having found a comfortably fitting sound after earlier dabbles with psych-folk and indie-rock, Weaver stood pretty much alone in her ability to combine motorik momentum-building with dense, synth-saturated atmospherics with soaring songcraft.
Flock by Jane Weaver On the cover of her new album, Flock, Jane Weaver is surrounded by a collection of pastel birdhouses. The photo is an apt visual analogue, as Flock ushers a variety of colorful genres within Weaver's orbit without any of the elements feeling like they don't belong. These 10 songs successfully synthesize experimental inclinations with a winning pop pulse that ensures the music is as toe-tapping as it is sonically immersive.
Jane Weaver has described her 11th album as "the most genuine version" of herself to date. For an artist who seems to have spent much of her 25-year career following her own curiosities, it's an intriguing statement. After years on the periphery making increasingly cosmic folk albums, the Liverpool-born, Manchester-based songwriter had already enjoyed her breakthrough moment in 2014.