On her fourth (and tellingly self-titled) album as The Weather Station, Tamara Lindeman reinvents, and more deeply roots, her extraordinary, acclaimed songcraft, framing her precisely detailed, exquisitely wrought prose-poem narratives in bolder and more cinematic musical settings. The result is her most sonically direct and emotionally candid statement to date, a work of profound urgency and artistic generosity.
Lindeman's songwriting has always been deconstructive, subtly undermining the monoliths of genre with her sly sense of complexity and irony. She has generally been characterized as a folk musician, and yet with its subtext of community and tradition, the term "folk" has never quite fit The Weather Station's work; the songs are too specific and lacerating. So appropriately, Lindeman's so-called "rock and roll record" suspiciously stares down those genre signifiers – big, buzzing guitars, thrusting drums – and interweaves horror-movie strings and her keening, Appalachian-tinged vocal melodies. Reaching towards a sort of accelerated talking blues, she sings with a new rapid-fire vocal style, filling a few of these short, bruising songs with enough lyrics to populate a full album.
On past records, Lindeman has been a master of economy. Here her precisely detailed prose-poem narratives remain as exquisitely wrought as ever, but they inhabit an idiosyncratic, sometimes disorderly, and often daring album that feels, and reads, like a collection of obliquely gut-punching short stories. It is not a careful record, or an abstract one. Instead of the hushed airiness of Polaris Prize-nominated predecessor Loyalty (2015), we get something more direct and piercing. The characters of The Weather Station are navigating the unknowable, the frontiers of anxiety, empathy, and communication.
Deluxe virgin vinyl LP features heavy-duty board jacket with full lyrics, full-color inner sleeve, and high-res Bandcamp download code.