Gentle and calm, with a breezy atmosphere that feels like you’re surrounded in nature. These are the first impressions I’ve had while going through Ignorance, the latest album from The Weather Station. I thoroughly enjoyed its warmth and comfort on my first listen, but I also sensed that there were some deeper themes lying inside. Indeed, there’s strong undercurrent that could be felt in its tiny moments — tucked inside subtle jazzy flourishes, in the yawning of strings and Tamara Lindeman’s soft singing. Listen for long enough and soon the album crashes into you and knocks you off your feet, like being caught in an undertow left by an unassuming tide.
This effect comes from how well the music’s accessibility is used to convey its heavy themes. Lindeman adapts the sounds of nature while singing about how we are collectively leading to its destruction. As you tap your feet to its rhythms, these sentiments slowly sink in. The ingenuity lies in its delivery. Lindeman appeals to the audience’s sympathy by being open and non-intrusive. Considering environmental decay is such a divisive topic, the albums attempt to shed light on our ignorance is nothing short of amazing.
This album is mostly a serene and solemn experience, but darkness and anxiety are embedded in its core. Opening “Robber” is a welcome start, its smooth jazzy arrangement can lull you into comfort, but the titular robber leaves a sinister edge. Referring to a society that was built on taking away from others: “No, the robber don’t hate you, he had permission / Permission by words, permission of thanks / Permission by laws, permission of banks”. When this album digs into you, it digs hard.
In songs like “Tried to Tell You” Lindeman frames her emotions as something akin to a breakup song: “I feel as useless as a tree in a city park / standing as a symbol of what we have blown apart”. A sentiment that avid listeners of pop would adhere to. With ruminating strings, pitter-pattering drums and her lush vocals front and center, the song takes full shape. Conveying the real break up is humanity straying away from doing the things that they love and truly care about.
Another great thing about this album is how well it fits for easy listening. Times are hard these days, and sources of comfort are always a welcome sight. Songs like “Loss” and “Trust” among others have perfect moments of catharsis that could easily help a troubled heart.
Ignorance is a strong new direction for the Weather Station, a reminder of how powerful folk music can be when crafted with an open heart.