Album Review: Laura Veirs – July Flame (Bella Union, 2010)

Holly Stevenson 2 February 2010

We females, no matter how hard we try to hide it, are simple creatures really. And Laura Veirs, despite a penchant for ‘interesting’ costumes and mad hair, is one of us.

Her last album, Saltbreakers, was a tear-ridden train crash of an album, and written in the wake of a break-up. Her latest offering, July Flame, is awash with warm harmonies and sunny melodies. And was written in the wake of saying those three special words to her producer and drummer, Tucker Martine. Coincidence? I think not.

Although at points in the album you have the uncanny feeling that you’ve stumbled across a loved-up teenager’s secret book of mawkish love poetry – take “why care about yesterday’s haze/When the stars above are all ablaze” from ‘Little Deschutes’ for example – Veirs, like the peach that named her album, is blooming.

The opener, ‘I Can See Your Tracks’, is a deceptively playful start, concealing Veirs’ intricate and wonderfully tortured core. Instead of dangerously descending into the sweet and cloying, tracks such as ‘Life is Good Blues’, are as refreshing and joyous as a summer breeze, and embody Veirs’s love of the quirky and paradoxical.

Although perhaps less memorable than Regina Spektor, and less subtle than Martha Wainwright, Veirs’s effervescence and delight is so prevailing as to be infectious.

Not many singer-songwriters could get away with releasing a quintessentially summer album in the depths of January; July Flame is a testament to her fiery spirit and delicate power.

Holly Stevenson