Having previously drawn comparisons with Karen Carpenter, Natalie Mering aka Weyes Blood is steadily striding into her own cosmic realm. We went to see her sold out show at Islington Assembly Hall.
The sold-out show proved she’s in high demand at present, with her latest full-length effort Titanic Rising welcoming the highest praise from most major publications.
Personally, I had somewhat of a micro-obsession with the emotive dystopia that was 2016’s Front Row Seat To Earth, and wondered why she hadn’t garnered more hype at the time; subsequent collaborations with Ariel Pink, Drugdealer, and tours with Father John Misty gave her a taste of the limelight, and Sub Pop swiftly snapped her up. Thankfully.
Sauntering on to the stage in a strong-shouldered suit with long dark hair down to her waist, Mering patently transmits that retro, 70’s visual and sonic aesthetic. ‘Something To Believe’ and ‘Everyday’ both bucolic power pop melodies, rife with the wavy piano and lap steel that branded her recent release, give off that affecting feeling as though they’d been cultivated through years of listening to FM Radio on cross-country drives.
“…and the honest, harmonic cries that detail grandiose complexities of helplessness, inevitability, and dogged romanticism.”
It’s the astounding control of her transition from low to high pitched wails that truly tug on the heartstrings, and the honest, harmonic cries that detail grandiose complexities of helplessness, inevitability, and dogged romanticism.
For a musician whose body of work feels so personal, looking both inwards and towards the galaxy of possibility, Mering is positively comfortable in her own skin. Shifting from the hazy drama of aquatic, arpeggiated ballad ‘Movies’ and bewitching lead single ‘Andromeda’, there are a couple of jovial interactions with the crowd: ‘Let’s break the fourth wall’ she declares in true Antonin Artaud fashion, and likens the mood to some kind of ‘weird date’. A bit weird, maybe, but this date is going rather swimmingly.
Welcome banter didn’t break the spell, however, as the band gently breezed through a cover of The Beach Boys’ ‘God Only Knows’ before re-entering the anguished landscape of her previous album for finale ‘Do You Need My Love’.
Of course, as tears started to stream, Mering and her band returned with that same brand of endearing, off-kilter rapport. The sage wisdom of encore ‘Generation Why’ still reverberates with the same relevant melancholic dejection felt three years are it’s initial release, though, we were all gazing at the proverbial stars above having been swept up in Weyes Blood’s halcyon fantasy.