folk-pop with a disco sheen

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folk-pop with a disco sheen

The Weather Station’s – the ever-evolving project of Canadian folk musician and actor Tamara Lindeman – latest incarnation is perhaps the most intriguing yet. The musician’s last effort – 2017’s self-titled fourth – was pleasant enough, a dreamy collection of Joni Mitchell-style balladry that chugged along sweetly with a Lucinda Williams twang, led by sparse-sounding electric guitars and Lindeman’s strident croon. Intimate, unafraid and worthy of a soft shoe shuffle around the living room, it slotted neatly into the pop-folk world inhabited by the likes of This Is The Kit and Kathleen Edwards.

But ‘Ignorance’ takes a different path entirely. The fifth Weather Station album is a decidedly more funky and glossy thing, driven by the throb of a distant disco, as if ABBA were looking on encouragingly before suggestively pointing in the direction of a flashy looking keyboard. In fact, ‘Ignorance’ was the first Weather Station to be written on such equipment rather than guitar.

The result is an album that pulses with energy, one that’s not a dancefloor record in the traditional sense – we can’t see Diplo dropping any of these tracks into his inevitable socially distanced Las Vegas comeback set at some point in late 2021 – but one with an insistent groove woven into its 10 delicately emotive songs, which deal with love in all its messy permutations.

Like the creations of Meg Remy of US Girls, a fellow Toronto resident and experimental dance-pop maverick, this is a music made for a more private kind of dancefloor. These are songs that feel like you’re being let in on a secret; ‘Heart’ verges on the sad-banger territory, perhaps the first ever four-to-the-floor folk ballad, while it seems almost rude to dance to ‘Separated’ – which looks at a love affair and “all the work we had to do” – but its lush beat makes it impossible not to. The same can be said for ‘Tried To Tell You’, which floats around 1980s Fleetwood Mac territory (as does the shimmering ‘Parking Lot’) as Lindeman muses on a partner with “endless rain you thought of as your heart”.

The pace eventually slows for the mournful ‘Trust’, on which The Weather Station glumly pick apart a divorce. Although there’s evidently a break-up at the heart of ‘Ignorance’, this is an album that’s far more about the joy of freedom than it is the sorrow of an ending.

Details

Release date: February 5

Record label: Fat Possum

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