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Laura Veirs - Year Of Meteors 2005 torrent
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It's no criticism to say that Laura Veirs's new album, Year of Meteors, will sound familiar to listeners, newcomers and old fans alike. Her voice recalls Liz Phair without the accusations, and like Patti Smith, she comes off like a poet first and a singer second, although with a much more MFA-friendly style and without the rock-priestess performance. Her songs indulge flights of verbal fancy, like Ben Gibbard but less unctuous. And Veirs is routinely compared to Suzanne Vega for the dryness of her delivery and to Beth Orton for the way she melds folk rock with dance sonics. There is, however, the vague sense on Year of Meteors that she is trying to distinguish herself from these comparisons and even from her previous album, last year's Carbon Glaciers, a breakthrough in Europe and a cult favorite in America. Leaving behind that release's barebones sound, Veirs recorded Year of Meteors with her touring band, the Tortured Souls, which includes bassist Karl Blau, keyboard player Steve Moore, and percussionist/producer Tucker Martine. The result is a fuller sound that, for better or worse, is less like the work of a solitary musician and more like a collaborative effort.
These essentially spare songs have been dressed up with full-band arrangements and treatments that employ glittery electronic effects intended both to offset the organic acoustics and to set Veirs apart from every other female with a guitar. Often these additions work well within the songs: the band propels "Secret Someones" and "Rialto" with pop-song momentum, and Eyvind Kang's strings on "Fire Snakes" and "Parisian Dream" perfectly compliment Veirs's dreamy lyrics. But often, as on "Galaxies" and "Through the Glow", these treatments sound entirely superfluous, diluting the potent simplicity of Veirs's understated performance.
Besides, Veirs needs no further distinction: despite the justifiable comparisons with artists past and present, she has developed a musical style that is maybe not groundbreaking, but is at least highly personal and distinctively expressive. Lyrically, her songs make abstractions concrete and conjure eerie images and strange associations, some of which belie her background as a geology student. The standout "Spelunking" develops an elaborate metaphor that connects subterranean exploration with romantic commitment: "If I took you, darling/ to the caverns of my heart/ would you light the lamp, dear?" she asks, before describing the denizens of the darkness-- "fish without eyes, bats with their heads/hanging down towards the ground." Veirs confronts everyday subjects with the same imaginativeness and eye for detail: on "Secret Someones" she addresses the loneliness of touring: "O a smile would melt me to an asphalt strip," she sings before asking in the bridge, "tell me, did you make it to the show?"
Lyrics reproduced outside of their songs can often sound flat or pretentious, and the words above desperately need Veirs's intonations to achieve their full effect; merely typing them or reading them won't do. For all the decorousness of her music and songs, it's her voice-- usually charmingly flat, precisely overenunciating, and gently assertive-- that conveys the deepest sense of wonder and truly sells these songs. Veirs really doesn't need much in the way of accompaniment: the primary components of her music are voice and guitar. If Year of Meteors feels a little too busy and overworked, so what? Veirs is maybe the gazillionth iteration of the quiet voice and plucked guitar, but she serves as a potent reminder how variable and compelling that combination can be.
-Stephen M. Deusner, August 29, 2005
Artist: Laura Veirs
Album: Year Of Meteors
Date Of Release: August 23, 2005
Genre: Indie, Rock, Singer-Songwriter
Bitrate: VBR --alt-preset standard