Natalie Mering has truly created some breathtaking, haunting, and at times eerie music and soundscapes under her moniker Weyes Blood. Her 2014 record The Innocents was nothing short of a stunner. Her third album, Front Row Seat to Earth, further sees Mering expand her horizons while retaining the beauty and majesty of her previous efforts.
Right from the opening moments of “Diary”, featuring a wonderful combination of piano and Mering’s voice, it is easy to understand why the LP has been widely acclaimed. The song is part dramatic cinema and another part of beautiful dream that you wish will never end. “Used to Be” changes the pace with its upbeat tempo. It has a bit of a groove and some real slick guitar parts buried deep in its foundation.
The next two tracks, “Be Free” and “Do You Need My Love”, are epics, clocking in at over six minutes each. The former is gorgeous with whispering harmonies and stripped-down instruments compared to the earlier track. The arrangements give the song an enchanting, mystical fairy tale quality, where the soundscapes are lush but vast. The latter, which features some excellent drum work, sees Mering channel the ’70s Laurel Canyon era with a dramatic yet trippy alt-folk number.
“Generation Why” is a stunner on the surface, but it has an inherent strangeness that causes us to gravitate towards Mering’s music. It is haunting, and its strange refrain of “Y-O-L-O why” engulfs the listener at the end. “Can’t Go Home” is just Mering and harmonies, and it is breathtaking. Arguably the highlight of the album, “Seven Words” is a heart-wrenching, sombre number, which if filled with some perfectly-executed guitar work and organ.
The penultimate track, “Away Above”, is a throwback, folk song, which once again echos that famous Los Angeles neighborhood. The song is the perfect gateway to the strange yet wonderful “Front Row Seat”. Part symphony, part carnival, this short number perfectly encapsulates the album – complex, delicate, witty, occasionally extraordinarily weird, but often tremendously stunning. The beauty of the song and the entire album can be attributed to Mering’s meticulous nature. Each instrument is played or introduced in ways that adds to the music. From starting songs with just vocals to little smatterings of drums or guitar, everything is done for a reason. Consequently, Front Row Seat to Earth being of the year’s most interesting and captivating records.
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