Weyes Blood: And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow review – awesome beauty and gentle wisdom | Pop and rock

Many of this year’s albums grapple with the current historical moment. LA experimental auteur Natalie Mering’s fifth outing as Weyes Blood is also “feeling around in the dark for meaning in a time of instability and irrevocable change”, according to a letter from Mering that accompanies this release.

Fortunately, she transcends the more panicky elements of the herd. Her preternaturally wonderful voice – a 21st-century take on the Laurel Canyon folk-pop idiom of the 1960s – is both an awe-striking thing of beauty and a comforting balm. Raised religious, but having long since expanded her spiritual questing, Mering takes a calm view on suffering, existential loneliness and the narcissism of late capitalism. The spectacular God Turn Me Into a Flower ponders the myth of Narcissus and how it applies to 2021, concluding that a flower’s delicate pliability is all to the good. It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody skewers the atomisation of the past couple of years with gentle wisdom.

As these elegant tracks play out, mourning what we’re doing to ourselves and each other, there is just the merest disappointment that the sound of these songs is not as overwhelming as those of this album’s magnificently echoey predecessor, Titanic Rising. But quietude becomes these themes.

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