Album Review: And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow by Weyes Blood
Exceptionally Good, Based on 4 Critics
Under The Radar - 90 Based on rating 9/10
On 2019's Titanic Rising, Natalie Mering of Weyes Blood echoed a hurting world as she poured out her fear of loneliness, desire for love, and need to belong over grand swells of cinematic folk-pop. Her yearning heartache--expressed with deep spirituality rather than mere romanticism--resonated with many, and yet, Mering caveats her feelings on the song "Everyday," singing, "Then again, it might just be me." She qualifies the importance of her insights, wondering if she can trust her read on humanity or if she's just projecting herself on her surroundings. But subsequent years of universal loneliness would prove Mering's concerns unfounded.
If it seems a slight to view Weyes Blood's (aka Natalie Mering) 2019 album Titanic Rising (which was my album of the year way back then) as a mere work in progress compared to what she has accomplished on And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow then so be it. Despite the majesty of that earlier moment, Mering's latest, with producer Jonathan Rado back at her side, is immediately recognizable as being lusher, grander, and bigger budgeted than her previous high water mark. At the risk of overstating the obvious, it's like comparing The Land of The Lost TV show with Jurassic Park for most realistic dinosaurs.
Natalie Mering’s fifth album is a compelling and beautifully told tale of coming out of the darkness Natalie Mering’s fifth album as Weyes Blood is also billed as the middle part of a trilogy, following up 2019’s Titanic Rising. Underneath the soft rock trappings, that record had an uneasily portentous feel to it, and on And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow, Mering builds on these atmospherics. For, at first glance, Weyes Blood’s music is soothing, accessible and even comforting.
What to do when this drained husk of a planet on which we busy ourselves is showing bin fires how it's really done? When lives are put on hold while viruses stalk the Earth? When those who have elbowed their way to power betray us so routinely that scandalous behaviour barely raises an eyebrow? Well, if you're the prodigiously talented Natalie Mering (aka Weyes Blood), you pour all that frustration, anger and uncertainty into exquisite songs, give them sumptuous arrangements and release them into the world as your fifth album proper. Have existential crises ever sounded better?
But And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow is so much more than a lockdown diary. Over the course of the album, Mering makes the personal universal by expressing the need for human connection in the wake of prolonged isolation.