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owenscott
24th November 2022

On ‘And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow’ Weyes Blood shines

The ethereal singer-songwriter delivers strong track after strong track on her latest album
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On ‘And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow’ Weyes Blood shines
Photo: Weyes Blood – Justin Higuchi @ Wikimedia Commons

Weyes Blood has been a big name in the indie scene for a while now. Her first album under her stage name was released in 2014 and she’s since collaborated with industry icons like Lana Del Rey. For many though, her 2019 album Titanic Rising was their first proper introduction to her, as it featured hits like ‘Andromeda’ and was widely regarded as one of the best albums of the year.

Here, with her new album And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow, Weyes Blood furthers her exploration of ethereal chamber pop and reaches grand new heights. Once again, she takes the listener on a journey of love and heartbreak against a 1970s space aesthetic backdrop.

The album’s opener and lead single ‘It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody’ is an interesting start as Weyes Blood comes down from space and is instead “sitting in a party”. Here, she speaks the most directly that she ever has as a millennial and spokesperson for Gen Z, as she sits “wondering if anyone knows me” or “really sees who I am”. It’s a refreshingly relatable perspective for listeners, from an artist who so often feels so ethereal in her work. ‘Grapevine’, the album’s second single, also takes her away from her normal otherworldly references, as she name-drops James Dean and references other Americana symbols like “California”, “campfires”, and an “emotional cowboy”.

Weyes Blood’s ethereal sensibilities, though, are sprinkled throughout the album, each track soaked in reverb and synths that recreate the space aesthetic she’s become known for. Tracks like ‘In the Darkness’ and ‘In Holy Flux’ serve as synthy cinematic moments, along with the three-and-a-half-minute outro on ‘God Turn Me Into a Flower’, which is filled with lush vocals and synths that recall a retro sense of space.

These moments add a special touch to the album and help tie it to Weyes Blood’s iconic aesthetic. But they never become overbearing, as there are more subdued moments like the album closer ‘A Given Thing’, where Weyes Blood forgoes the album’s intricate production and opts instead for a simple piano ballad.

The album standout is the second track, ‘Children of the Empire’, which recalls Titanic Rising’s ‘Wild Time’ in its grandiosity and swelling orchestral moments. Weyes Blood’s vocal abilities are on full display as she sings “Children of the empire know they’re not free”, her voice meandering and waving. The outro is one of And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow’s most stunning moments and shows the intricate production to be one of the album’s greatest strengths.

Weyes Blood varies the production throughout, with ‘The Worst Is Done’ feeling like a radio song from the 1970s. It’s more upbeat than the rest of the album, though only in its production; its lyrics are dark and confessional (“I should have stayed with my family, I shouldn’t have stayed in my little place”). Her retro influences are also clear on the tracks ‘Twin Flame’ and ‘Hearts Aglow’: she borrows from the 1980s on ‘Twin Flame’ with the track’s repeating drum machine, while ‘Hearts Aglow’ marks a return to her 1970s chamber pop sound.

With And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow, Weyes Blood follows 2019’s Titanic Rising with another stellar record. While staying true to her indie and chamber pop sensibilities, she varies her song structure more than ever before and delivers strong track after strong track. If you haven’t listened to this album yet, you’re missing out.

5/5.

 

For news about her upcoming tour and more on Weyes Blood, check out her website here. You can stream And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow below:

Owen Scott

Owen Scott

Head Arts Editor at the Mancunion and culture journalist

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