Album Review: Laura Veirs – Found Light

For those of you that read our review of Laura Veirs’ concert at The Deaf Institute recently, you’ll know that she didn’t play a single track from her 2020 record My Echo. It’s a very good album, a personal fave from 2020 and one that Thank Folk for That was looking forward to hearing live. It wasn’t to be and in retrospect it kind of makes sense. Her music has been tied up with husband and collaborator Tucker Martine for years. They divorced in 2019 and My Echo was written during this seismic shift in her life. It probably makes sense to want to move on. Fast forward to 2022 and new record Found Light is what follows when you get to make the decisions!

The differences are subtle at first. It’s all about the choices and the freedom to try things out. Importantly, the album is a very honest insight into Laura Veirs. Perhaps that’s a first. Album opener ‘Autumn Song’ shimmers with its gorgeous vocal rounds but already there are hints towards new beginnings; “Your ways to be free – Your ways to let go – Your ways to be loved – The things you now know” emphasise the clean slate that the album represents. The melancholy ‘Ring Song’ is less subtle when she gently sings “I pawned my wedding ring – At the Silver Lining – I felt sad – I also felt a weight go flying”. These are very personal confessions.

Sonically, then any adjustments are not immediately obvious. There are moments of Portland grunge in ‘Seaside Haiku’ but Veirs was always partial to going electric occasionally. She does so again on the very last track ‘Winter Windows’, but there’s some kind of abandon in these moments of fuzzy indie-pop this time. The guitars are spiky like the barbed lyrics; “Now it’s up to me – The lighting I can do” she repeats brazenly in a seemingly none-to-subtle statement about her new-found independence. In-between these moments songs weave perhaps unexpected elements into their fabric. There are jazzy aspects to ‘Naked Hymn’, gorgeous bluegrass strings on ‘Time Will Show You’ and electronic beats on ‘Eucalyptos’ and ‘Signal’ all demonstrating a continued desire to elevate her material beyond that of a traditional folk singer. Only this time she’s the one making these decisions. It appears to have been a liberating experience.

Iain Fox