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Laura Veirs
CARBON GLACIER
(Nonesuch)

"Love of color, sound, and words ó is it a blessing or a curse?" Seattle singer-songwriter Laura Veirs poses that question during "Rapture," the third ruminative song on her third ruminative album. While brooding on it, she calls up the spirits of Basho, Monet, Virginia Woolf, and Kurt Cobain to serve as examples. The name dropping is particular to this track, but the entire disc is similar: quietly perceptive, unrepentantly intellectual, overtly artistic, and very aware of being so. Veirsís plain but forceful voice is surrounded most often by sparse, folkish arrangements featuring violin, glockenspiel, and lightly plucked acoustic guitars. When she and producer Tucker Martine engage a punchy drum loop on "The Cloud Room," itís a minor shock but a pleasant one; the result is one of the albumís catchiest tunes. Even when Veirs turns up the volume, the music tends to stay chilly. But "Lonely Angel Dust," "Anne Bonny Rag," and "Chimney Sweeping Man" all manage to sound both modern and ages old, no mean songwriting achievement.

BY MAC RANDALL


Issue Date: November 12 - 18, 2004
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