Album-Review: Weyes Blood – And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow

This new Weyes Blood album is one that slowly lulls you in. The songs are slow, they are delicate, they are simplistic. It might take time to really get them, but once they lay their emotional grip on you, you'll be obsessed with the honesty, beauty, euphoria, self-reflection and melancholy the album encapsulates. And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow might not be the most innovative or unique album sonically, but Natalie Mering's lyrics, melodies and vocals as well as the solid band performances and perfect production easily make up for it. With each listen, I connect more with the album. The prime example is the lead single and opener It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody. While at the start, I wasn’t really in love with the song due to its slow and subtle progression over a six minute plus runtime, it now sucks me in completely which is largely due to the emotions the song evokes. Still, it is not my favourite on the album. Children of the Empire has an ever better chorus, sees an increase in the intensity of the performances and evolves in a great way throughout every second. Grapevine has a beautiful atmosphere. The song is a lot more mellow, features some beautiful reverb and Mering’s voice moves into a deeper register. God Turn Me Into a Flower is more of a meditative experience than a tune, celebrating nature through the myth of Narcissus who turns into a flower as a cure for his narcissism. Mering interprets this as a way of the gods to reconnect him to his surroundings which he completely lost touch to after falling in love with his one mirror-image. God Turn Me Into a Flower is hands down the best piece on And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow. The only rival is the acoustic guitar-driven penultimate track The Worst Is Done which functions as the perfect finale for the album. The song seems to be inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic with lyrics like: It’s been a long, strange year or I should’ve stayed with my family / I shouldn’t have stayed in my little place / In the world’s loneliest city or Didn’t think we’d all lean into hyper-isolation. Of course, the song can also be interpreted as another comment on the "age of narcissism" and social media God Turn Me Into a Flower is about. Or it could just be a comment on the world’s situation as a whole: They say the worst is done / But I think it’s only just begun. Whatever it may mean to you, The Worst Is Done is one of the best tracks reflecting on the decade so far; a significant portrait of these times conveyed in a 1970s singer-songwriter housing. As a whole, And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow is a timeless album though with its 70s inspired production, lush and modern sound and baroque pop instrumentals. And of course, Natalie Mering once again proves herself a great lyricist, songwriter and singer, even if she isn’t as interested in experimenting as she was on 2019s Titanic Rising.

9 / 10

  1. It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody 90
  2. Children of the Empire90
  3. Grapevine 90
  4. God Turn Me Into a Flower 95
  5. Hearts Aglow | 85
  6. And in the Darkness | NR
  7. Twin Flame | 85
  8. In Holy Flux | NR
  9. The Worst Is Done 90
  10. A Given Thing | 75