Last week, while I was meant to be writing this column, I was in fact suffering from an acute case of writer’s block. WB is not some sneaky little condition that we wordsmiths make up in order to get out of our daily tasks. I write because I love it, but every now and then, the connection between my mind and my hands doesn’t quite seem to get its shit together, and I’m left with a foggy brain and a blank page.
I took to accosting sage pals on pedestrian crossings for inspiration, but even that didn’t seem to do the trick. So instead, I decided to crack open a bottle of wine, turn the computer off, the television on and visit my old friends in Twin Peaks for some surreal, small-town murder mystery action.
As I joked about making a mixtape of ‘Songs To Wrap Laura Palmer In Plastic To’, it struck me (light bulb style) that I have been listening to a lot of music by Lauras lately. Before I knew it, I’d decided to review Laura Veirs’ new album July Flame, and mini-mix some sweet tunes from Laura’s Jean, Marling and Imbruglia. I think I owe Agent Dale Cooper a cup of black coffee and a slice of cherry pie.
Laura Veirs is up to album number seven, and July Flame, apparently named after a type of peach she bought at some summer markets in Portland on the hottest day in the world, sure is one sun-drenched and juicy gem.
The album sees her returning to an independent label after several years and releases on Nonesuch, and employing a stripped back approach to a collection of mellow, folk-inspired tunes.
These are subtle songs sure, but they are also seriously pretty and have the ability to stay in my mind for days on end. ‘Where Are You Driving’ is particularly magnificent, starting off with the barest of banjo plucks, but completely capturing my attention by the time the vocal harmonies kick in for the chorus. ‘Sleeper In The Valley’ is also a winner, for its introspective and magnetic vibe.
The lyrics are effortlessly thoughtful, and the music is unadorned but utterly compelling throughout the entire album. Veirs, and her producer boyfriend Tucker Martine seem to have placed every note, instrument, melody, chord, harmony and lyric exactly where they belong. There’s not a note to be wasted and the result is a warm and generous journey through a summer spent in life and in love. This album is best listened to while chomping into a plump peach, and letting the juices roll down your arms all the way to your elbows.
While you’re doing that, I also recommend listening to more Laura times three! There’s a timely reminder from Melbourne lady Laura Jean that silly season is most definitely over, the brand new clip from Laura Marling WHAT A DARLING (expect her album to get a visit from Katie Dazzle in the next few weeks for sure), and finally an oldie but a goodie from local lass Laura Imbruglia. Who knew one little name could hold so much talent? Until next time pals x
Laura Jean – It’s Supposed To Be Summer
Laura Marling – Devil’s Spoke
(The official video clip for this song can’t be embedded, so if you want to watch that click here. The version above was recorded in session at BBC Radio 1 – Ed.)
Laura Imbruglia – Tear Ducts