Review Summary: Mercy Is the Only Cure for Being So Lonely
Velvety melancholy seems to epitomize the instrumental soundscape and lyrical focus of Weyes Blood’s newest record “And in The Darkness, Hearts Aglow.” Flush with massive swells of electronic ambience, choral upswings and a loosely knit concept, Blood’s record weaves in and out of the dramatics of a pandemic-torn world with signs of relief that things are beginning to return to normality whilst mourning broken love and tiresome male dominance which continue to reign even with a clear shifting landscape of equality and tolerance.
The elegiac “The Worst is Done” documents her forced seclusion with a raging virus sweeping across the world and how the world and herself have changed given these circumstances. Each passing melody moodier than the next, the instrumentals quiet yet enchanting and Blood’s vocals yearning for a second chance to do things differently now that she’s grown, and her perspective has changed.
“I should've stayed with my family,
I shouldn't have stayed in my little place,
In the world's loneliest city,
We're not meant to be our own angels all the time,
No one coming by to see if you're alive”
Truly a mournful track with hints of hope. The idea of being able to emerge from our cocoons back into society only to be awestruck with how tumultuous the landscape is politically and socially is such a haunting reality that many don’t seem to want to talk about. The hope that things are ‘back-to-normal’ is unrealistic because we are now forever changed, people as a species are now changed, hardened, less empathetic of creatures. Here we are, getting ready to kill each other at Wal-Mart for Tv’s and Ps5’s.
“Grapevine” scopes out an abusive, dominant male in a relationship with a complex, lush instrumental backdrop to convey these thoughts. Seemingly still besotted somewhat with this mysterious manly man, Blood recounts being together around a campfire, thinking of him at night even though his personality reflects an individual caught up in his own narcissistic tendencies. Blood eventually concludes that the relationship was a passing fling whereas smitten as she was with this man, he’s simple a passerby now and distant afterthought.
“Shining across the freeway late at night,
Start to drift over the line,
And it hits me for the first time,
Now we're just two cars passing by”
“God Turn Me into a Flower” also explores male narcissism with a sort-of retelling of the myth of Narcissus who becomes obsessed with his own reflection leading to him starving and dissociating himself with anything outside of that reflection, eventually being turned into a flower by God. The highlight of this song is the instrumentation which delivers heavenly and serene moody melodies coupled with Blood’s distinct gloomy/elegant delivery. The concept of the track is interesting enough and well-intentioned, but the lyrics seemingly only reiterate the myth without offering personal attachment unless there are metaphors weaved within the lines that evade me.
Weyes Blood is a phenomenal vocalist with a healthy range and unique combination of pungent lyricism yet a subtle delivery style sticking more to a mid-range rather than exploring belting techniques or whisper singing. I wasn’t initially impressed with the timbre however with repeated listens, I began to become infatuated with how naturally composed and graceful her approach was. It reminded me too much of other voices but the subtlety that flickers with desperation and melancholy really drew me in and made me appreciate these songs a bit more than my initial run-through.
Overall, this record finds its stride quickly, not deviating very far from its formula of gorgeous swells of instrumentation and moody vocals. The choral chants add nice dramatic flairs to soaring melodies. The drenched reverb effect on Blood’s vocals reminds me a bit of Ethel Cain if Ethel Cain had a more similar vocal style to Florence Welsh. The variety of instrumentals adds unique flairs to perhaps more stale songs in terms of structure and flow. The quiet pianos that flow smoothly through the closing track, the poignant staccato and pop-sensible beats of the track “Twin Flame,” both add a bit of diversity and depth to a very mid-paced array of tunes. Perhaps a bit more variety would have served the project well, but I’m inclined to view this as a very personal piece of art meant to document emotion during a turbulent period. Naturally, many of these emotions are negative, sad and desperate so softer nuanced approaches to soundscape would serve these more potently that rave bops and sultry smoky songs. It’s certainly a captivating listen and one I look forward to revisiting repeatedly.