Loyalty is the third album by The Weather Station and is widely regarded as being their best-to-date. Newly signed to Paradise Of Bachelors, the Canadian folk Four-piece, are fronted by Tamara Lindeman. Already acclaimed as a songwriter, Loyalty sees further progression of Lindeman’s talent. The songs range in subject from philosophical ideas to everyday life.
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Tamara Lindeman is a country rock throwback of the highest order, and on ‘Loyalty’ she references places she’s been more than artist’s she’s listened to: there’s a sense of wide open space in many of these songs, with thanks to the boisterous country folk arrangements of her Weather Station pals, and at other moments there’s a homeliness that few artists could intimate so directly.
Lindeman’s songwriting is calmed, but it sounds like she’s only reaching that calm in the now; the bold arrangements that supplement her folk songs are dramatic and ponderous as she sings in spontaneous conclusions: “I guess we’re close, but I don’t really touch”, she sings over beaming synths and strenuous picking. “Loyalty”, with its subdued melodies and tranquil picking, recalls Natalie Merchant’s reserved folk, diving through momentary peaks and valleys but resting in the quiet middle-ground.
It’s also worth noting that the Weather Station are a splendid folk rock band, upending a songwriter with great consistency through subtle but felt arrangements. Afie Jurvanen’s drums are lilting and slow, but they make the record more callous and compelling: on “Personal Eclipse”, the bare snare march drives the song forward, navigating Linderman’s meandering stories. It’s a winning combination, and it shows that folk music can sound at its best when it’s complicated.
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