Weyes Blood, the recording and performing monicker of singer/songwriter Natalie Mering, has returned with a captivating new album, Front Row Seat to Earth. The album, produced by Mering and Chris Cohen, seamlessly blends old and new with touches of chamber pop, folk, 70’s soft rock, and the occasional nod to psychedelia. The songs ebb and flow without ever losing the clarity and focus of Mering’s intimate and poised vocals. With Front Row Seat to Earth, Mering has released an album that is at times personal and experimental while retaining a timeless and familiar feel. On the road touring behind the new release, Weyes Blood recently stopped at Kings in Raleigh NC.
There was a palpable curiosity buzzing through the Sunday evening crowd. How would these lush arrangements be interpreted from the stage? Having toured behind the Weyes Blood name as a solo act in the past this time when Natalie took the stage, dressed in the turquoise satin suit she wears on the Front Row Seat to Earth album cover, she was backed by three bandmates. As the crowd watched with reserved and respectful appreciation, Natalie proceeded to lead the band through a set that included strong and full renditions of many of the new songs. Any concern over how the songs would sound outside of a recording studio were quickly washed away. While her multi-instrumentalist bandmates provided a full and robust soundscape, much like the album, it was Natalie’s voice that held center stage. Mering alternated between playing acoustic guitar, stepping behind the keyboard, and at times just holding the microphone as she focused on singing with a voice that at times channeled Karen Carpenter and the deep throated delivery of Nico. As the set was brought to a close to rousing applause, everyone in the room looked at each other with an acknowledgement that they had witnessed something special.
Opening the show at Kings was local solo shoegaze project UVB-76 who delivered a short but engaging set that grew in confidence and complexity as it proceeded. The middle spot was held by another local band, Truly, who played shoegaze influenced indie-pop that nodded toward 90’s UK artists the Sundays.