MusicReview

Weyes Blood: And in the Darkness - Second instalment of ambitious concept

Latest album in Natalie Mering’s intended trilogy is reliable if occasionally overdone

And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow
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Artist: Weyes Blood
Genre: Pop
Label: Sub Pop

Even when Natalie Mering is wallowing in doom and gloom – or being “in the thick of it”, as she puts it herself – the soothing familiarity of her voice somehow makes it seem like everything will be alright. The American musician’s fourth album follows her 2019 breakthrough Titanic Rising, which had a loose concept of witnessing imminent calamity.

This, the second, is imbued with a sense of muddling through adversity, with lyrics like “It’s been a long strange year, everyone said they lost what they thought they had / We lost our voices” and “We don’t know where we’re going / Looking for love in all the wrong places” typifying Mering’s mood. Happily, her musical style hasn’t been overhauled in a drastic manner. Carpenters comparisons persist, while many of these songs are mini-epics running over six minutes. When they’re good, as on the lush, measured 1970s cabaret pop of It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody or the jaunty, strummed chug of The Worst is Done, they’re great. Occasionally, as with Children of the Empire, there is a sense of overegging the pudding.

Mering throws a few curveballs in the mix: God Turn Me Into a Flower’s meditative, hymnal quality perhaps reflects her strict religious upbringing, but the cumbersome synthpop of Twin Flame seems misplaced. Nevertheless, the idea of a third instalment of her ambitious concept is enticing.

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy is a freelance journalist and broadcaster. She writes about music and the arts for The Irish Times