While Weyes Blood has seemingly achieved a breakthrough with her fourth full-length album, Titanic Rising, the overall style is right in line with its predecessor, 2016’s Front Row Seat to Earth. Both albums feature Karen Carpenter-esque alto vocals gently guiding a dream pop by way of 60s throwback style. But rather than feeling derivative or like diminished returns, Titanic Rising is a stunning development that fully realizes its predecessor’s vision while offering its own vibe on the style.
Whether she’s serving up medieval folk or industrial ambience, Weyes Blood is always about atmosphere and this album is certainly no exception. She’s doubled down on her baroque pop influences this time around, trading in her folk elements for a heightened sense of spectacle. A variety of styles are present, and each song is packed with extensive layers that thankfully avoid getting too dense. There isn’t a concept at hand as far I can tell, but the overall aesthetic and presentation are quite comparable to Pet Sounds or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
On top of that, the arrangements are decidedly more compact with the hooks playing active roles. The atmospheric minimalism on songs like “A Lot’s Gonna Change” and “Movies” has been a staple of Weyes Blood’s repertoire, but there’s a sense of guidance that lends itself to a more coherent experience. On the flip side, the bouncy, almost cabaret style on “Everyday” is unlike anything else she’s done. It’s certainly accessible and the production is incredibly polished, but the catchiness stays subtle and the heart behind it all goes an incredibly long way.
Overall, Titanic Rising is a fantastic outing that is easily Weyes Blood’s strongest achievement. While the evolution from its immediate predecessor isn’t as dramatic as her previous efforts had been, it hones the formula well thanks to tasteful incorporations of retro pop touches and effective hooks. It’s admittedly frontloaded but every song stands out for a mix of pleasantries and longing. I don’t know if this’ll be my top pick for 2019 overall, but I doubt I’ll hear anything else more gorgeous.
“A Lot’s Gonna Change”
“Something to Believe In”