Album Of The Week: Weyes Blood – And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow

The echoes of Natalie Mering's grappling with a lost and lonely society could hardly sound more beautiful

In the closing moments of Titanic Rising, Weyes Blood’s universally lauded 2019 album that saw her attempt to keep her head above the waters of modern alienation and anxiety, Natalie Mering was to be found “Waiting for something with meaning/ To come through soon.”

Three years on, as the Californian is set to release the next chapter, And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglo, has she found what she was hoping for? Well, not quite. But, as the album’s opener and lead single goes, ‘It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody’. “Living in the wake of overwhelming changes,” she sings with a subtle tremor as if echoed straight from Carole King’s Tapestry, “We’ve all become strangers/ Even to ourselves.” It’s sounds bleak, but through the soft lens blur of Mering’s 70s style songwriting it feels oddly comforting.

Weyes Blood - It's Not Just Me, It's Everybody (Official Video)

This ambivalence seems to be the records’ through-line, as each track as lustrous and scintillating as the last unfolds. On ‘Children of the Empire’ there’s blood on our hands, loneliness is a monarchy and our time is up, and yet it has the bell rings, sweet backing “Oohs” and lilting nod of a Christmas song. Later the 34-year-old reflects she should have joined her family for what we assume is lockdown, shouldn’t “have stayed in my little place/ In the world’s loneliest city,” but concedes, albeit sceptically, in the song’s chorus and namesake that “They say the worst is done.”For all its Enya-like iciness, the album’s highlight, ‘God Turn Me Into A Flower’ is as cathartic and regenerative as it’s titular plea.

Perhaps not easy to prove on paper, but listening to And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow is far from a depressing experience, such is Merring’s talent to turn the bleak into something gracefully shared with a magic touch, and a sign that there may be hope to come.

Weyes Blood heads to the UK in February. Tickets are available here.