On her fourth album as Weather Station, Tamara Lindeman embraces a biting new directness that brings dazzling richness to her conversational folk-rock | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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On her fourth album as Weather Station, Tamara Lindeman embraces a biting new directness that brings dazzling richness to her conversational folk-rock

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Canadian singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman took matters into her own hands and produced the self-titled fourth album by her project the Weather Station (Paradise of Bachelors) herself. A listen to the record proves it was a smart move. There’s a sense of mission and a layer of passion that I didn’t hear on its lovely 2015 predecessor, Loyalty. This time around Lindeman’s voice sounds more cutting, the arrangements are richer and more exciting, and the lyrics hit harder as they trace various strains of romantic disappointment with sharp observational detail. “You and I (On the Other Side of the World),” for example, a song that seems to celebrate an effortless love, quietly reveals a sense of boredom. Lindeman impressively transforms diaristic writing into fleeting melodies inspired by the elusive phrasing of Joni Mitchell. On the page bracing lines such as “I asked for your hand like it was too intimate to ask for your mind” might not sound particularly musical, but her urgent, generous delivery allows them to mysteriously blossom and wedge themselves into the listener’s memory. Her core band performs with brisk energy while crafting lean grooves that give the intuitive spontaneity of her singing plenty of room to move. Even the tunes that are gorgeously gilded by string arrangements never feel superfluous or goopy. It’s a record that feels simultaneously light in its attack and heavy with ideas, and I’m eager to spend more time grappling with its complexities.   v

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