Jane Weaver: Flock
Jane Weaver: Flock
Flock is the new album by Jane Weaver. This is her 11th album and it’s a psychedelic pop masterpiece. Weaver started making music in the early 90s with the Brit Pop group Kill Laura and later in the folktronica band Misty Dixon. She has also released 10 eclectic solo albums since the early 2000s in several different styles. Now she’s given us Flock, which she says is her attempt to make the pop album that she wants to make. Her style has ranged from psychedelic to folk to grunge to electronica, and now she wants to make her version of a pop album. Weaver has said that the album is inspired by “Lebanese torch songs, 1980s Russian Aerobics records, and Australian Punk,” according to an interview with TheQuietus.com.
“Heartlow” is a hypnotic opening track and the second single released on the album. The song sounds like krautrock and features droning, drifting synths that create a dreamy atmosphere. These are accentuated by the floating percussive chimes throughout the song. This song has a lot more sunshine than her 2019 album Loops in a Secret Society. Just as the sunrise wakes you up, so does this song. It’s a long, gliding crescendo that prepares you for the rest of the album.
Now that you’re awake, you’re ready for “The Revolution of Super Visions”, a hallucinogenic pop song based on a bouncing synth bass beat and steady drums. This Prince-inspired funk track served as the album’s lead single. The bass riff drives the song and is accented during the chorus and solos by a reverberated guitar and synthesizer.
This leads into the celestial opening of “Stages of Phases.” The beautiful, minimalist synth riff is abruptly cut off by a hard, driving rhythm that takes over the songs for the verses. The chorus features chromatically soaring vocals and the synth theme from the intro returns. The verse and chorus repeat and the song builds towards a final climax. The song then fades into the next track, “Lux”.
“Lux” also opens with gentle, ambient synth sounds, augmented with chimes. This is a short, instrumental synth piece that features lyric-less vocal harmonies. It’s a short, restful piece that helps to stabilize the pace of the album.
“Modern Reputation” sounds like it could be from Stereolab’s Dots and Loops. The song opens with a quiet, repeating electronic figure. This figure repeats throughout the song as the dynamics and instrumentation expand around it. Like a lot of the songs on this album, it sounds like it could be part of the Sim City soundtrack. It gears toward a false fade out near the end of the song, then it picks up again for a final, gentle climax.
“Flock” opens with lots of chimes and woodwinds. It then builds into a fun call and response verse that alternates between dreamy vocals and frantic guitar and drums. The song itself doesn’t feel rushed, but when you listen you feel like you are rushing towards something. The album ends with an extended instrumental section. This is the most chaotic song on the album.
Things smooth out again on the next song, “Sunset Dreams”. This track reverts to the Dots and Loops feel. Like most of the album, it can most easily be described as “psychedelic easy listening”.
“Pyramid Schemes” is my favorite song on the album. This is another trippy pop song with a hint of funk buried beneath Weaver’s simple and repetitive, but effective vocal melody with a steady, driving beat to match. There’s a dreamy texture to most of the songs on the album, but this one feels a little different. It doesn’t sound like the music is floating on this one; the music makes me feel like I’m floating fast above the clouds. And then the music suddenly ends and we get ambient feedback for a moment before the final song, “Solarised.”
“Solarised” has the most melancholy intro of any song on the album, with glum lyrics too. This torch song brings us a strong shift in mood. It’s a fine song musically, but it lacks the steam that some of the other tracks have and it’s more emotionally painful than any other song on the album.
Flock is Jane Weaver’s latest album, and her change in direction might surprise some longtime listeners. The album is still a distinctively Jane Weaver album with her trademark experimentation and psychedelia, but this time she puts a pop twist on it. If mellow psychedelia is what you’re looking for, be sure to check out this album.