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Album Review

Literate folk-inflected indie rocker Laura Veirs' third record is full of enough emotional peaks and valleys to satisfy even the most temperamental music fan. Upon first listen, Saltbreakers feels significantly less chilly than 2005's sparse Year of Meteors, but further spins reveal a dark core that radiates warmth only intermittently. Part of this can be attributed to Veirs' masterful way with imagery, a talent that she employs incrementally with each and every release. A native of the Northwest, water, especially of the oceanic variety, tends to creep its way into each song, leaving soggy footprints that zigzag their way through the listeners' head until the very last note. Relationships both new and retired cast a long shadow, especially on the first three cuts — the simple, fingerpicked guitar and languid viola on the superb "Ocean Night Song" season the lyric "I wonder 'bout the herds of the sea/If they will hurt or if they will help me" with expertly measured melancholia. However, it's not all introspection and hand wringing, as evidenced by the rousing and impossibly hooky title cut (it's a veritable singalong), the marriage of Bill Frisell's signature guitar tone with a full choir on the gorgeous "To the Country," and the hard-driving "Phantom Mountain," all of which paint an artist who continues to expand her sonic vocabulary, even as she revels in what's worked successfully for her in the past.

Customer Reviews

Hidden Depths

On first listening to this album I felt a little disappointed. Repeated listening soon revealed the real depth of this album. Vibrant tunes came forth with excellent arrangements, lovely harmonies, super musicmanship and a few real surprises. Laura Veirs is wonderful!

Veirs is definately keeping up the good work...

After the success, and rave reviews for "Year of Meteors", upon hearing she was to release a new album, I was somewhat concerned that Laura Veirs would not be able to maintain the high standards set by her last release. Much to my delight, I was sooooo wrong - "Saltbreakers" builds on the energy of "...Meteors" with an even greater vareity of sound and genre. Her lyrics are as mesmirising as ever and her guitar riffs, still infectious. BUT IT... BUY IT NOW!!!

Saltbreakingly Beautiful - A Child Like Wonder

Laura Veirs is one of those female solo artists that by every right should be in proper Indie band. Yes she has flirted with The Decemeberists but there is something underneath her melodies that calls to be performed and constructed by a band. When I say band I mean a band like The Concretes or The Cranberries who have female singers but go under a band name. In saying that if she were not a solo artist (by nature) she might not have those wonderful melodies and enchanting production values. Laura Veirs magic is in her vocal performance, a lilt a bend in her voice that is so child like it only adds to the music, the stories, the articulation. Saltbreakers is the first Laura Veirs album that I have been truly excited about hearing. I’m a little late on the bandwagon but still being a year since I discovered her and hearing about the release my ears started to crave. On a first listen one can’t help be drawn in, more so than her other albums. This is a cross between Carbon Glaciers and Year Of The Meteors and more. The production values on both albums plagued the albums from being a true spectacle. If Carbon Glaciers was her Ok Computer and Year Of The Meteors was a step in the right direction to making an album that had no ones mark but hers. Saltbreakers is the album that has her signature style of songwriting and making records, one that is truly Laura Veirs. Saltbreakers starts off with a track that could have easily come off Year Of The Meteors. Pink Light has the same production values as a lot of the tracks on that album. The rest of the album is like a floating star, if there were such a thing. The first thing that is to be noticed is the two tracks to feature a choir. The title track Saltbreakers is sweet song. The band chanting at the chorus over Laura Veirs is something she hasn’t done before. However it’s the song To The Country that speaks the volumes with the children choir and ending with the instrumental interlude. The songs just add weight and a dimension that is most welcome. The songs that first struck out at me are tracks 5 and 9. Wandering Kind and Cast A Hook are some of the most dynamic and melodic songs you’ll hear all year and we have The Shins album already released but this just takes the break, the Saltbreak. The rockiest track is the song right after Cast A Hook, Phantom Mountain. A dynamic, rocky if slightly noisy song that is probably the weakest song on the album but the chorus is killer. I’m sure some humming and singing along is needed, if not air guitar. The rest of the songs are very sweet and very soft, Nightingale and Black Butterfly in particular but by no means are they small, they are rich, melodic and a delight. The one thing about this album is it’s the most pleasingly melodic album by Laura. Her voice has never sounded more enchanting. This is definitely my favourite album of this year so far, just when I thought it was The Shins or Candylion by Gruff Rhys. This might not be groundbreaking but it is Saltbreaking.


Born: 1973 in Colorado

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Seattle singer/songwriter Laura Veirs sings personal songs of romantic intoxication, everyday vignettes, and occasional social commentary that are often heavy on introspection and intense character scrutiny. Her vocals and melodies rapidly shift and veer, up and down her wide vocal range. She put out her own self-titled CD, recorded live and featuring just her and guitar, in 1999. Though she went to the studio for her next album, The Triumphs & Travails of Orphan Mae, it too was self-released (though...
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Saltbreakers, Laura Veirs
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