Mar 05, 2021
The chameleonic progression of Jane Weaver as an artist of considerable merit has been one of the most joyous facets in music’s recent history. Having initially emerged in the early ’90s with Manchester post punk outfit Kill Laura, Weaver has gone onto become one of the most important British artists of modern times.
Never one to stand still or slip comatosely into any specific scene or genre, Weaver has furrowed her own path incredulously for the best part of two decades. Indeed, her first solo record came out as far back as 2002, and while that may have slipped under the commercial radar it clearly opened the door to whole new horizons and possibilities for the future.
If the rest of that decade was spent learning new techniques and developing her craft as a writer and composer, the ensuing 10 years has delivered a treasure trove of wares far beyond any preconceived expectations. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until 2017’s Modern Kosmology and its follow-up two years later, Loops in the Secret Society—Weaver’s eighth and ninth albums respectively—that she started to receive the widespread recognition her unique, multi-faceted vision so richly deserved.
So here we are, two years on from Weaver’s last release with one of 2021’s most eagerly anticipated long players. Recorded over the enforced hibernation period created by lockdown, Flock is anything but a claustrophobic sounding record. If anything, it’s an album that releases the shackles and shoots for the stars via the unashamedly microcosmic world of pop. Inspired by a range of sonics both obscure (Lebanese torch songs, Russian aerobics records, and Aussie punk) and otherwise (The Knife, Broadcast, and Miley Cyrus all seem genuine reference points here), Flock brings together the best of all Weaver’s diverse genre colliding worlds in one glorious sitting.
The album’s lead singles “Heartlow” and “The Revolution of Super Visions” introduced Flock by immediately setting the bar impeccably high; the former taking Weaver’s futuristic pop to its next consequential dimension while the latter fuses glam rock stylings with Moroder style electric dreams as its narrator quizzically enquires “Do you look at yourself and find nothing?”
It segues dreamily into “Stages of Phases,” where Waver toys with the specter of Goldfrapp’s “Strict Machine” to create another of Flock‘s pivotal moments. “Anything could happen” she enthuses and it does. While “Modern Reputation” is arguably the closest Flock gets to its predecessors in terms of experimental sonic structure, both the title track and “Sunset Dreams” up the ante once more. Particularly “Sunset Dreams,” which has an RnB flavour while Weaver delivers diatribes (“You’re like an effigy in my bad dreams”) aplenty over an infectious backdrop that wouldn’t sound out of place on any daytime radio schedule.
Meanwhile, “All The Things You Do” heads into Broadcast territory via the annals of Roxy Music, while “Pyramid Schemes” takes a stroll down Detroit’s soulful backstreets before transporting itself back to 2021. Saving the best until last, “Solarised” is both intelligently crafted and universally accessible to create a perfect ending to an album that will almost certainly feature heavily in the upper echelons of 2021’s end of year lists. (www.janeweavermusic.com)
Author rating: 8/10