Titanic Rising, the new album from Weyes Blood (aka Natalie Mering), is imbued with a similar sense of apocalyptic dread as her 2016 release, Front Row Seat to Earth – but this time, there's a strangely uplifting feel to her dreamy chamber-pop. On Titanic Rising, Mering is dancing the end of the world away, celebrating all that she's loved about our cursed planet. More technically expansive than anything she's released to date, Mering finds subversive brilliance in the idea that perhaps within a sense of impending doom lies a great sense of transcendent calm.
The singles Mering released ahead of the album exemplify this idea in their diversity. Everyday is an almost alarmingly upbeat bop in which Mering chases true romance, revealing the insecurity inside that otherwise charming daydream: "I'm so scared of being alone/It's true, it's true". Fittingly, the song's jangly piano and cheery tempo deteriorates into a strange reverbing nightmare towards its end.
In Andromeda, she looks to our nearest galaxy for celestial answers to personal questions, and on Movies, the album's climactic centrepiece, she pleads for her life to be distilled into the same kind of essential, accessible emotions depicted in cinema. The song swells to an enormous widescreen climax, with Mering howling to the heavens, asking for a starring vehicle of her own.
Mering's vocals are warm and haunting at once, particularly when she's stacking up multiple-part harmonies. She adds such immense feeling through her voice that her ideas feel full-bodied even in their simplest forms. A Lot's Gonna Change perfectly captures the fear of growing up in a rapidly changing world, while on Something to Believe, she sounds achingly mournful as she describes the feeling of untethered confusion that comes when we feel sapped dry of faith – whether that be in a religious context or otherwise.
Appropriate for the album's title, Mering is tackling some staggering emotions on Titanic Rising – but her broad instrumental tapestry and towering voice means she never loses control of her ship, which she sails confidently through a wide, uncharted ocean.
Weyes Blood, Titanic Rising
Sub Pop Records
A cinematic exploration of the terrifying new questions presented by a changing world.