Published Jun 25, 2015How you receive Don't Weigh Down The Light, the drifting, ethereal third solo album from Espers' Meg Baird, is going to depend a lot on context and your mood. Are you feeling dreamy, open and patient? Good, then this is for you.
Over truly beautiful fingerpicked guitar and acoustic piano, Baird's whispery voice floats, harmonizing with herself higher and higher, somewhere beyond the usual acceptable amount of reverb, her singing both introverted and strong and clear.
The heavy, atmospheric texturing tends to obscure what Baird is saying, and anyway, it seems private. But the album is almost certainly about leaving and transitions; Baird relocated to San Francisco before making the record, and the whole thing sounds like a cathedral-like requiem for her past, centering on the brief a cappella "Leaving Song" and exploding by "Good Directions" into some poppier optimism about her present trajectory.
Helping to stretch Baird's songs beyond their classic Brit-folk underpinnings are truly out-there embellishments by guitarist Charlie Saufley. Initially baffled by where these were going, listeners will be won over somewhere in the middle of "Past Houses" — the effect is like that of being contentedly blown around by a gentle wind.
Don't Weigh Down The Light is a beautiful background listen; it's just a little frustrating that often it feels like Baird fails to connect as a lyricist. (Drag City)