Release Date: Oct 21, 2016
Record label: Mexican Summer
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Weyes Blood is Natalie Mering, who has been floating around the US counterculture for a while: singing with Ariel Pink, appearing on the unexpectedly lovely Drugdealer album earlier this year and taking a place in the acid folk collective Jackie-O Motherfucker, as well as having a solo career. None of which quite prepares you for the loveliness of Front Row Seat to Earth, an album on which Mering’s voice – rich and warm, but with phrasing that is precise and almost formal – is backed by instrumentation that manages to take the best bits of early-70s Laurel Canyon rock without sounding like a throwback. One wonders how many of the lyrics are truthful, and how much Mering is constructing a character – there’s a theme running through the songs, and it is that of someone declaring their love in a slightly terrifying way.
Weyes Blood, aka Natalie Mering, is a musician who spent copious time early in her musical career delving deeply into DIY ventures and noise projects such as Jackie-O Motherfucker and Nautical Almanac. Her Weyes Blood records have been altogether different endeavors; the Wicker Man-esque pagan noise clamor of 2011's The Outside Room and the ethereal yet dissonant autumnal fugues composing 2014's The Innocents. The sublime Front Row Seat to Earth finds Mering continuing on her glacial slide towards psychedelic folk akin to Linda Perhacs, Vashti Bunyan, Kevin Ayers, and Bridget St.
Weyes Blood makes serious music, but she doesn’t take herself too seriously. Proof of that can be found in the final seconds of Front Row Seat to Earth, the fourth full-length from the singer/songwriter/producer born Natalie Mering. A brass band breaks through the din of hazy film samples and warped classical piano with the kind of royal proclamation that declares, “I’m here!”—just as the soiree is ending.
The phrase “YOLO” may have gone from mainstream hip-hop into the English lexicon, then become ironic and eventually forgotten about due to overexposure, but rarely has the acronym been more appropriate or held more emotion or weight than when Natalie Mering sings it on the chorus of ‘Generation Why’, the centrepiece of the new Weyes Blood album Front Row Seat To Earth. When Mering gracefully sounds out each letter with bittersweet stateliness, it makes you realise the truth behind this tongue in cheek phrase; we only get one life – and that goes for the individual, the entire population and the Earth itself. Embedded within the psychedelic folk of the album is the thematic undercurrent of things coming to an end, usually love, but also in the bigger picture.
Front Row Seat to Earth is the kind of album that's hard to describe without referencing the work of other artists. Luckily for project mastermind Natalie Mering, the musicians evoked by Weyes Blood's fourth album Front Row Seat to Earth are mostly geniuses. Whether you think of Pink Floyd's gloomy grooves, the Zombies' post-modern harmonies or even Kate Bush's lyrical lilt, she's most definitely in great company.It's worth noting though that the songwriter doesn't only emulate here — she transcends her influences, taking what she wants from '70s AM rock and leaving the rest behind.
Front Row Seat to Earth is Weyes Blood's second full-length album for Mexican Summer, following 2014's brilliant The Innocents. As with that album, here singer/songwriter Natalie Mering continues to refine her psychedelic folk-pop sound, placing less of an emphasis on experimentation and spotlighting her stunning voice and introspective, poetic lyrics. The album was co-produced by Mering and Chris Cohen, and like his solo albums on Captured Tracks, it nods toward vintage soft rock production, managing to sound highly detailed and sophisticated yet relaxed.
The deep, pure, Karen Carpenter croon of 28-year-old Californian Natalie Mering could still slavering beasts, and the pristine chamber pop of her third album sets it in a gentle, 70s singer-songwriter world seemingly untroubled by the present. Listen closer, though, and crisis is all around. “The dystopian is just what it is now,” Mering said recently, and these songs move from the personal pain of a breakup – Seven Words, with its sentimental organ, heartbeat pulse and clouds of choral glory – to the planetary pain of environmental disaster and our Snapchatting detachment from it: “Y, O, L, O… it’s not the past that scares me/ Now what a great future this is gonna be,” despairs Generation Why.
The deep blue gravity of Natalie Mering’s voice remains Weyes Blood’s focal point on her latest album. Front Row Seat to Earth, though, turns down some of the lonely static and tape warp of previous full length The Innocents and finds a broader folk balladry imbued with Laurel Canyon breeze that’s still tempered by contemporary turmoil. Weyes Blood’s Cardamom Times EP from last year was a bridge both chronological and stylistic between long players.
A weekly roundup of required listening from the Times music team. D.R.A.M. “Big Baby D.R.A.M.” (Atlantic / Empire). As if those two big smiling faces on the cover of “Big Baby D.R.A.M.” — one human, one floppy golden poodle mix — weren’t enough to draw you in. D.R.A.M. — first known ….
Weyes Blood — Front Row Seat to Earth (Mexican Summer)Photo Credit: Katie Miller&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://weyesblood. bandcamp. com/album/front-row-seat-to-earth"&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;Front Row Seat To Earth by Weyes Blood&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;Front Row Seat to Earth is a splashy, sing from the hilltop record, coming from a songwriter who’s earlier work coveted shadows.