Weyes Blood: Titanic Rising (Sub Pop) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, November 22nd, 2019  

Weyes Blood

Titanic Rising

Sub Pop

Apr 01, 2019 Issue #65 - Mitski and boygenius Bookmark and Share


The past is compiled like a palimpsest-the fossils of former years exerting their pressure on the new grass that grows around them. But in this repetition of the old is an incarnation of the new. You can almost see how this would apply to all music-chord progressions, time signatures, and the basic building blocks of songs all being continually modified and reintroduced. A truly great album knows it is a distillation of the past, but pays its tributes and advances the medium a step forward. On Weyes Blood's radiant and beautifully anachronistic fourth studio album, Titanic Rising, Natalie Mering achieves a perfectly balanced synthesis between the old and familiar and the new and unexplored.

Opener "A Lot's Gonna Change" hones in on this negotiation with the past as a means of personal advancement, both lyrically and sonically. The faltering pitch of a synthesizer tuned to sound like fluorescent lights swarming overhead breaks into a loping, operatic chamber-pop ballad. Mering delivers a reckoning with the impermanence of all things in a dispassionate tone that is consistently undercut by the certainty that this too will fade. Phantasmal and plangent choral harmonies round out the strings and paint a picture of a longing too strong to be fulfilled, but too fundamental to be ignored.

Immediately stretching the horizons of our attention from the anecdotal to the cosmic, "Andromeda" follows with polyrhythms and a narcotic funk groove that builds to a crescendo and then descends with a lilting slide guitar that gently sways us to the ground from the suspended highs of the chorus. All of these moments are grandiose, but never gaudy, calculated and poised but never contrived or counterfeit. Harpsichords and gooey magma sounding Moog bass purrs ornament vocal parts undergoing hypnotic expansions and contractions. The elongation of the word "believe" at the end of "Something to Believe" is one of the most transcendental expressions of desperation I've heard that somehow, paradoxically, maintains its cool.

A lot will surely be said about how the palate of the album recalls the neoclassical New Age-y ethos of a lot of late-'60s and early '70s folk pop music, and of course its cinematic allusions, but the truly incredible components of these songs are within their active movement and the way that something like a Brill Building sound can be so deeply personal. Warm gallops slacken serenely and new spaces are birthed inside structures we thought we'd exhausted. That's the essence of creativity-giving life. (www.weyesblood.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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