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4.2 out of 5 stars13
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 26 August 2013
Although Warp and Weft is Laura Veirs' ninth album, this talented female singer-songwriter has somehow passed me by all these years. I may no longer wear heavy skirts, or seek out so many boycotts that my nutritional well being starts to suffer, or listen to this sort of stuff any more. But when I hear about Laura Veirs, I realise that I still have a yearning to recreate the freshness of those first few Tori Amos fuelled years of my musical life.

So, yeah... Warp and Weft is good! I like the album's title, with its emphasis on the craft of singing and songwriting.

I see there's a disappointed reviewer here on Amazon.co.uk who would like Laura to go back to pure folk. I have to agree that, despite my folk misgivings, I too prefer the folky tracks and am not too keen on the rockier ones. However, that's only a couple of tracks on the album, and I do wonder whether these experiments have rubbed off on the other tracks for the better. I certainly enjoyed most of the non-rock tracks more than I normally enjoy folk.

I was most impressed by the beautiful, often vocally tricky melodies, which Laura manages to riff up and down effortlessly. It's not all tight control - if she wants to let go, she does. It's all there in her voice, from a whisper, right up to a cry.

Laura was pregnant when she made this album. It's been a long time since I went through all that pregnancy and bonding with your baby stuff. These lyrics on Sun Song brought it all back to me (even though I'm not too sure what they mean).

"Matches inside your golden hair
Catch all the light, I fight to death, I swear
As all the other mothers would remember
Stalked by winter solace in a small, warm hand"

Other motherhood inspired moments are the refrain from the traditional song Motherless Children. Also there's a moving song about true story of Sadako and the paper cranes.

This isn't really my type of music any more. But it's beautiful and tuneful and it means something and it was made by someone who cares about it. Listening to it makes me realise that however much I think I have changed, and however much I still want to, some things will always stay with me.

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on 19 August 2013
All of Laura Veirs albums are classy, elegant affairs. This, her ninth, might be the very best yet.

There's plenty of familiar stuff here for those who've followed her previous work but it's immediately striking how the arrangements on "Warp and Weft", in contrast to the politeness of her previous release, "July Flame", have become edgier and more expansive. The sombre and reflective mood Veir's creates throughout is heightened by the prescence of guest guitarist, My Morning Jacket's Carl Broemel. His noisy, tremolo-heavy Neil Young-style solos and understated pedal steel work blend incredibly well with regular viola player Eyvind Kang's exotic, eastern-flavoured string arrangements. Even when Veirs moves into completely new, bold territory with the Alice Coltrane-esque, harp/horn driven jazz of the last song, "White Cherry" she manages to pull it off with style and grace. A truly stunning record.
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Laura Veirs last album was the child friendly traditional songs of "Tumble Bee" which had it moments but was aimed at a very specific audience. In one sense then "Warp and Weft" is her first proper album since the summer pastures of 2009's wonderful "July Flame". If you don't own, or have yet to hear the title track or "Make something good" the lovely duet with My Morning Jacket's Jim James then seek medical help. This is the Portland's singers ninth album and one of her best. James is back guesting on the album. as are the two chanteuses Neko Case and K D Lang plus fellow North Westerners the Decemberists. The most immediate impression of this album is that its a much less laid back affair than "July Flame". Electric guitars and punchy solos punctuate many of the songs and there is even a slice of Alice Coltrane style jazz in "White Cherry" which has the considerable merit of being highly listenable. It's mantra, of "Abundant life, that's this life." closes an album of true wonders.

Back at the beginning is the acoustic "Sun Spot" with Neko Case making an impressive guest appearance. It does reprise some "July Flame" sounds and is a sterling start with Veirs vocal mixing soft and grit, combined with great electric guitar backing and strings that take it out with a bang. The next song "America" is essentially a rock song with a grungy bass. It is much harder fare than Veirs usual template and enters the heated debate on gun control when she observes "Everybody's packing heat in America / Training their barrels on the city streets of America". The great storytelling of "Dorothy of the Island" is a real standout punctuated with a rocking guitar solo although the haunting "Shape Shifter" matches it with high emotion as Veirs sings about the approach of cold frost and winter. The welcoming title of "Say Darlin Say" betrays a jagged song with a edgy guitar motif, while "That Alice" is good old folk rock with a guitar solo straight out of the Crazy horse songbook. An Asian tinge impinges on the straightforward Americana of the stellar "Sadako Folding Cranes,". The songs beauty almost defies its terrible subject matter as Veirs has coined a ballad about Hiroshima bomb victim Sadako Sasaki that tracks the terror faced by this infant as "She is blown out of the window/She is two years old/This is our cry, this is our prayer.". The penultimate track "Ten Bridges" is more of the type of gentle folk lyricism that is Veirs calling card and offers a nice breathing space as the album draws to a close.

Veirs has stated recently that "this record is an exploration of extremes - deep, dark suffering and intense, compassionate love." It was recorded while she was pregnant and contains all those hopes and dark fears that respectively inspire and haunt prospective parents. It amounts to a record for which she should be immensely proud as it is by far her most satisfying album to date packed with expertly crafted songs for your listening pleasure.
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on 20 April 2014
Warp And Weft
Laura Veirs is an Alt/Folk singer/songwriter from Portland Oregon.

"Warp and Weft" is her 9th full length studio recording... an intriguing title, but a very apt one. Warp and weft refers to the two types of weave in a fabric and this album is crafted from Laura's emotions whilst 8 months pregnant.

The album captures a Mother's anxieties and hopes for her unborn child and the World it's about to enter with such subject matter as gun crime, on the track "America" and the painfully beautiful "Sadako Folding Cranes" in which Laura sings about a 2 year old infant survivor of Hiroshima.
[...]
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on 22 June 2014
Great slightly edgy indie-pop, lush voice. Sunsong and Shapeshifter really lovely. Didn't know of her before hearing on 6 music, but will check out others now
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on 15 November 2013
I'm certainly a fan of Laura Veirs and I've followed her for many years, seeing her live a number of times in the UK. It's precisely because I'm so fond of her music that I found the album quite underwhelming. There are some 'good' songs on this album (e.g. Sun Song, Shape Shifter, the very catchy That Alice) but that's what they are - just 'good'.

As a particular fan of her albums Carbon Glacier and Year of the Meteors I found the album lacks the complex, brittle, stark melodies of this previous work. These albums had a mysterious 'other-worldliness' to them which is absent here. (Though to be honest this was also missing from the more commercially-sounding Saltbreakers). To my ears she seems to have lost the element of 'edginess' and 'darkness' that made her best work so interesting. Maybe that's becoming a mother for you! Still, it sure beats most stuff out there..
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on 1 February 2014
Laura Viers new album is a worthy successor to July Flame. Her wistful voice is totally captivating, pulling you into her dreamy world of ethereal sound and beauty that will not let you leave untouched. Even though there are more upbeat moments and more electric guitars to this wonderful set of songs, that wistfullness is always there. And the songs, even when there's darkness, are always somehow uplifting. The harmonies are delightful, the instrumentation is impeccable and yes, there's the trademark echo violin solo cropping up now and then. I so love this album! It will never be left unplayed for long.
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on 9 April 2015
I have heard this cd but only once - it was bought as a present
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on 20 September 2013
Fantastic, if possible I think this her best album yet, lovely! Just can't wait to see her live again now.
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on 24 September 2013
I don't normally review albums, but felt compelled to counter the earlier one-star review. Personally, I prefer the more stripped-back acoustic feel of July Flame and some of Laura's earliest albums, but this is still a decent release by her high standards.

The 'edgier' sound isn't anything new on her albums and it certainly doesn't compromise some wonderfully soulful tunes - particularly on the first half of the album. Lookout for the melody on Shape-Shifter, which is partly reminiscent of the Rolling Stones's Angie.
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