Cool verses and surround sound… [Laura Veirs]

Do you like fish without eyes? Do you enjoy shucking free your deadened self like snakes and corn do? Do you want to ride into the sun on a raft made for one?

Yes you do.

and so do I.

Laura Veirs’s 5th album, Year of Meteors, was one of those albums I just saw on the shelf and picked it up even though I’d never heard of it. Ok, maybe you shouldn’t do that, but I lucked out in this case.

This album is a classic example of the principle that you should put your best song first on the album–or at least within the first few. Unfortunately, when I popped this album in, I heard one of the acoustic picking songs followed by the slow electric guitar strums and repetitive lines of Galaxies, which has grown on me, but is by far not the strong point of the album despite it being the most punk and energetic.

As the the album continues on, you begin to see what makes Laura Veirs unique: an earth-folk sound with clear harmonies and tasteful guitar texture combined with contemplative and profound lyrics, all pushed forward by a drummer that approaches the ingenuity of Jason McGerr with his quirky patterns and crisp intonation. (Secret Someones is a prime example)

Let’s not get too carried away with the sound and leave out what we are most concerned with: the kick-ass writing.

Check out the song Spelunking on Year of Meteors:

The tiny midnight caravan
Made its way across the black hills
As I watched from a distance
The slow-going glow
Their wandering you know
Made me pine
For the lamplight
Where you lie

If I took you darling
To the caverns of my heart
Would you light the lamp dear?
Would you light the lamp dear?
And see fish without eyes
Bats with their heads
Hanging down towards the ground
Would you still come around
Come around?

I believe in you
In your honesty and your eyes
Even when I’m sloshing
In the muck of my demise
A large part of me
Is always and forever tied
To the lamplight
Of your eyes, of your eyes

This poem is so dark. Not dark in the traditional sense, but more of a dark purple– like the sky on a winter night. There are so many sensory images within the verse that is almost overwhelming. From black hills, to lamplight, to sloshing muck, Veirs is really painting a picture of not only a landscape, but also a picture of the inside of the human heart. The simplicity and vulnerability  of this poem is seen most powerfully in the simple delicate questions that are in the second stanza: Would you light the lamp dear? Would you still come around?

So many songs off this album hit with this kind of emotion. Through the Glow, Rialto, and Parisian Dream to name a few.

Veirs’s latest album July Flame doesn’t disappoint. I would definitely start with an earlier album though if you are just getting to know her.

You can download two new tracks off July Flame for free here!