A thread of kinship runs through Laura Veirs' ninth studio album. Produced by husband Tucker Martine, Warp & Weft explores the joy and stress of being a parent, to the tune of sweeping folk and polished, family-sized country. Veirs had a second child earlier this year and, expectedly, the experience is written all over the record. "Catch all the light/ I'd fight to death, I swear/ As all the other mothers would," she sings with heavy breaths on opener "Sun Song," a swift, graceful piece of orchestral Americana backed by creaking pedal steel and Neko Case's priceless pipes. "Dorothy of the Island," a more pop-oriented track that feels like a New Pornographers B-side, describes the woes of motherless children via chilling metaphor. Veirs said she felt an instinctive maternal fear and protectiveness while recording the album, and that is downright palpable in "Sadako Folding Cranes," a gripping Old World ballad about the iconic young Japanese girl photographed after the bomb dropped in Hiroshima. Musically, the album saunters more than sprints, but the richness of sound achieved through a bigger band and diverse instrumentation—classical guitars, mellotrons, omnichords, various organs—creates an underlying sense of urgency. Warp & Weft is an unstoppable brushfire of refined country, and Veirs' best work to date.
HEAR IT: Warp & Weft is out Tuesday, Aug. 20.