If the last decade didn’t stain your worldview with a new sense of cynicism or skepticism, then either meditation has really paid off or you may have learned to live with making horrible, handshake compromises at the detriment of humanity at large.
Some of us looked to apply fantastical meaning to the constant kicks to the shins we’ve received. “We’re living in a simulation,” they’ll say as the world burns around us. But singer songwriter Tamara Lindeman — who has recorded under the project The Weather Station for over a decade — has chosen time and time again to stare into the face of darkness and relay her insights through song. The Weather Stations’s Ignorance, is their most focused and fully realized effort to date.
Over the past few years, Lindeman has dedicated herself to understanding the looming man-made environmental catastrophes inching closer each day. “I don’t think you can come into contact with the reality of what 2 degrees of warming means and not become radical,” Lindeman explained in a recent Pitchfork profile, citing how baffled she is at the ineptitude running rampant. On one of the albums only stripped down ballads “Trust” she presents those with climate denial the evidence that will hopefully help them to snap out of it before it’s too late.
“Bring me all the evidence,” she sings. “The baskets of wild roses, the crumpled petals and misshapen heads of reeds and rushes, the bodies of the common birds, robins, crows and thrushes. Everything that I have loved and all the light touches while we still have time.”
Taking ownership of our actions is one of the prevailing themes of Ignorance. On the single “I Tried to Tell You,” Lindeman tries to reckon with a friend who could not let the book shut on a romance that has run its course. It’s the lyrical equivalent of indicating with her hand above her head where she has “had it” up to. Line after line, she tries to point out that these cliched lessons are all. “This is what the songs are for,” she sings. “I cannot sell you on your own need.”
With each record, Lindeman has built upon a steady foundation of air-tight, lived-in folk by introducing new instrumentation. But while drums, bass and accentuating guitar had only made appearances to service the songs on albums, like her self-titled 2017 album, the propulsive rhythms and interlocking interplay between the instruments on Ignorance create an all encompassing cloud that Lindeman’s delicate voice glides through with grace.
At their most exhilarating, like with the album’s opener “Robber,” the band sounds like if Talk Talk recorded an album in Laurel Canyon in the late ‘70s. The orchestration — complete with lush strings and skronked-out saxophone — rises to the level of Lindeman’s advancements as a songwriter to create a true high point and defining moment in her discography.
With Ignorance, Lindeman and The Weather Station have created a transfixing and enlightening record for those of us who have retreated inward instead of extending a helping hand.
Essential Tracks: “Robber,” “Tried to Tell You” and “Trust”
Prerequisites: The Weather Station’s The Weather Station and Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk