Front Row Seat To Earth is the new album by Weyes Blood, the solo recording project of Natalie Mering from Jackie O Mutherfucker. The album recalls the the US west coast folk sound of the ‘70s, artists such as Esra Mowhawk. The live band feel is contrasted with a clever use of electronics. The album was produced by Chris Cohen who has played with the likes of Cass McCombs and Ariel Pink as well as releasing a couple of solo albums.
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With Robin off who-knows-where this week it's my job to pick up all the Pitchfork-approved acts that I usually leave well alone. Weyes Blood's Natalie Wiseblood (Wiseblood/Weyes Blood - geddit?) has had spells in Jackie O Motherfecker and Ariel Pink's Haunted Grafitti but her own music is a lot more calm and laid back.
She produces a kind of piano led pop that owes something to the early '70s likes of Laura Nyro and Carole King. She has a glorious rich voice which gloops and swoops over songs that wind around themselves and get so tangled it's hard to tell which way up they are. A prime example is 'Used to Be' which starts so inauspiciously that I almost turned off before it twisted and turned so much it ended up in a glorious climaxing chorus.
Her voice is one part Karen Carpenter, one part Joni Mitchell and would be a thing of utter delight on it's own but when it soars like a flag over piano led soft pop the combination is truly lovely. Occasionally she slips into mawkishness, 'Generation Who' slips just too far into Barbara Dickson territory, saved only by its shapeshifting composition - it's constantly lurching and moving forward and doesn't allow itself to get tied down to a particular refrain.
Those people who tried to claim Rumer was the new Karen Carpenter need to hear her voice. Those who enjoyed last years excellent Julia Holter LP should give it a whirl too for the similarly dapper arrangements. It's saccharine sweet at times but lovely.
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- Front Row Seat To Earth by Weyes Blood
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